Democrats pass a budget with no Republican votes
Democrats in Sacramento have kept their promise and passed a budget on time. And they did it against the promises the Governor made to the voters. Namely, the voters would have the final say and the budget would be balanced without gimmicks.
Republican opposition to extending taxes forced the Democrats' hand to pass the budget by a simple majority vote. They didn't want to lose their pay, and they feared an election with the polls showing taxes would fail at the ballot box.
This budget has a series of gimmicks and tax and fee increases to close this year's $10 billion gap. It cuts deeper into education, law enforcement and the courts.
The tax and fee increases include vehicle registration going up $12, the sales tax rising by a quarter percent, and online retailers will have to collect a sales tax.
The cuts include $500 million to law enforcement, $300 million to higher education, and $150 million to courts. $3.4 billion in payments to K-12 schools will be suspended, and debate on the budget went along party lines.
“This is the result of a state starved for cash, all of these problems are left for our children and grandchildren to pay,” said Democratic Sen. Mark Leno, Chair of the Senate Budget Committee.
“What we have before us today is a Democrat budget that reflects a Democrat vision, a vision of California that Republicans do not share,” said Republican Sen. Bob Huff.
“No one should ever make that mistake. This is in no way the Democratic vision for the state of California,” said Democratic Sen. Noreen Evans.
However, this is not over yet. Governor Jerry Brown still wants the election to make good on his campaign promise. He has 12 days to sign or veto the budget and he will use that time to seek four Republican votes to get his special election. Democrats said they had no choice, this budget is not their preference.
“It is still our goal to achieve a bipartisan agreement with our Republican colleagues that includes ongoing revenue,” said Senate leader Darrell Steinberg.
If that fails the Democrats expect the Governor to sign this budget.
The budget has been delayed by Republicans who wanted reforms on any ballot measure calling for tax increases. The Democrats said no.
“This is your priorities (because) you drafted it, we were not part of this process whatsoever. So you vote for this budget, you own it,” said Republican Sen. Ted Strickland.
Look for the increase in the sales tax and vehicle tax to be challenged in the courts on the premise they requite a two-thirds vote.