California budget negotiations stall

July 8, 2009 7:22:18 PM PDT
No progress to report on the state budget crisis, with some nasty barbs being exchanged between the governor and the speaker of the assembly. But it appears there may now be a thaw in that frosty relationship.

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Finally, after stomping out of a key budget meeting Sunday and boycotting another one the next day, Assembly Speaker Karen Bass and Gov. Schwarzenegger may be on speaking terms again.

"We've called his office first thing this morning. So I am looking forward to meeting with him when he has the time," said Speaker Bass.

Over the last fews days while IOUs have been going out by the millions to pay California's bills, the offices of both leaders have been trading barbs instead of making real progress on the budget.

The governor's press secretary said during a reporter briefing this week: "It's really unclear a lot of what Bass is talking about."

Speaker Bass's press secretary sniped back: "I guess when your arguments don't hold water, you resort to insulting the intelligence of women lawmakers."

"Is it helpful?" asked ABC7's Nanette Miranda.

"Certainly, it's not helpful. I think any time when the debate descends into personal attacks, particularly involving race and gender, it's not moving the debate forward," said Assm. Noreen Evans, D-Santa Rosa.

Notice that it's not really the politicians participating in this verbal showdown, but their aides rarely say or send out such statements without their boss knowing.

"To me, what is important is not what so and so said, and what so and so said. To me, it's only one thing that is important, and that's to solve the budget," said Gov. Schwarzenegger.

But when? Millions of Californians are waiting to see if the programs they depend on will still exist. Others who are getting IOUs want to know if the cash will be there when they redeem them in October.

"It think this is causing a lot of anxiety for the poor families, who depend upon these programs when the governor is call them out in public everyday and threatening to prioritize people off assistance," said Mike Herald from Western Center on Law and Poverty.

Lawmakers, though, are making progress on the definition of honey, cow tail rules and the establishment of a blueberry commission.

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