State lawmakers fighting for their paychecks

The California legislature is back at work.  But, according to State Comptroller John Chiang, the members may not get paid for their work for however long it takes to get a budget passed. Members of the legislature say 'we passed a budget, you can't dock our pay.'

The problem is Governor Jerry Brown vetoed the budget, calling it a “sham budget” that was not in balance.  Hence, we have no budget.  He left the hassle over pay to be decided by the State Comptroller.

A budget was passed by the legislature on the last day of the constitutional deadline.

But the following day, the Governor vetoed it saying it was all smoke and mirrors.

“I am vetoing it today (because) I don't want to see more billions in borrowing, legal maneuvers that are questionable, and a budget that will not stand the test of time,” said  Brown.

The Governor will keep his promise and not sign a budget that is not balanced.

That gives weight to the State Comptroller, who has said if he finds the budget is not in balance he will withhold pay, as required under Proposition 25.

“I have no flexibility. I'm going to enforce the voters' will. They made a statement and we want to make sure that the private sector… and people who depend on government services, especially education, do not get harmed as they have in the past,” Chiang said.

The proposition states: “In any year which the budget bill is not passed by the legislature by midnight June 15th, there shall be no appropriation to pay any salary or reimbursement for travel or living expenses for members of the legislature.”

But the legislature did pass a budget, and the Constitution says a budget is balanced if the legislature says it's balanced.

“We met our deadline, we met our deadline, the governor's deadline is July first,” said Senate Majority Leader Darrell Steinberg.

“We clearly met the obligation to pass a balanced, on-time budget. What's at issue right now is much more important than pay, what's at issue right now is creating the economic stability of the state of California that's essential,” said Assembly Speaker John Perez.

But the State Comptroller says Prop. 58 requires a balanced spending plan, and if he determines that expenditures in the budget that was passed exceeded expenses he will withhold their pay.

His decision is expected in the next day or two.

There's nothing in the Constitution that gives the Comptroller the authority to judge the honesty, or legitimacy of the budget.

If he withholds pay look for a lawsuit.

Categories: KUSI