State budget still far from done deal

August 29, 2008 7:39:44 PM PDT
The state senate tried and failed to pass a budget on Friday, as the standoff now passes its 60th day. The tally came in three votes short of the two thirds majority needed.

"This budget will not pass," said a lawmaker.

The Senate budget proposal was doomed from the beginning, largely because it contained a temporary one-cent sales tax increase. It's similar to Governor Schwarzenegger's tax hike, only the sales tax would not fall below today's rate after three years like the Governor wanted.

"This the Governor's proposal light. We didn't even like the Governor's proposal," said State Senator Jeff Denham (R) from Merced.

Republicans even threw the Democrats' Presidential nominee's words back at their face.

"I would have to agree with Senator Barack Obama last night who said, quote: 'In an economy like this, the last thing we should do is raise taxes on the middle class," said State Senator Tom McClintock (R) of Thousand Oaks.

When it was clear the budget would be three votes short, a visibly angry Senate President scolded the Republicans for not offering their own proposal on how to close the $15 billion deficit.

"I don't know any kind of negotiation where you say, 'Hey, let's talk, but we're not willing to talk about the following things. If you went to a marriage counselor and you weren't willing to talk about my anger, how the hell are you going to get anywhere?" said State Senator Don Perata (D) of Oakland.

The Republican Presidential Convention is next week, and with no budget deal close at hand, some lawmakers may go, like Senator Abe Maldonado (R) of Monterey who's scheduled to speak.

As California closes in on the latest state budget ever, it cannot pay Cal-Grant Student Financial Aid, special education programs, trial courts, vendors and Medi-Cal providers.

The Robertson Adult Day Care Center is at wits end, waiting for state funding.

"We're tired of waiting. It's frustrating. We're running out of money. We can't keep our doors open much longer," said Jim MacDonald, an adult day care provider.

The latest vote showed the Senate needs not two, but three Republicans to cross over and vote for the budget. Orange County Democrat Lou Correa ran on a no-tax platform and abstained his vote.


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