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"No Gimmicks" Budget Vetoed in California

Thursday, Jun. 16, 2011

As the Rolling Stones say, “You can’t always get what you want.”

That is certainly the theme in Sacramento and cities across California as the state budget passed both houses by the June 15 deadline. But nobody was happy with the document, and Governor Jerry Brown promptly signed a veto.

Arguing that there would be no gimmicks in eliminating the state deficit, Brown said the document “ continues big deficits for years to come and adds billions of dollars of new debt. It also contains legally questionable maneuvers, costly borrowing, and unrealistic savings. We can—and must—do better.”

The $26 billion deficit has created friction between the Democrats and Republicans, with Governor Brown trying to reason with both sides. In the end, he criticized Republicans for refusing an important part of his plan: to let the voters have a say in how the balance will be achieved.

Brown wanted voters to decide on extending personal income and sales tax increases, a provision the Republicans would concede only if proposals such as a spending cap were included, along with reforms in both pension and regulatory programs.

This is the first time in 25 years the California lawmakers have been able to meet their constitutional deadline, but it may have been rushed due to a proposition passed last November that said: no budget on time, no paycheck. The voters will undoubtedly be unhappy with one concession by the governor that allows legislators to continue to be paid. Previously, State Controller John Chiang said he would permanently withhold lawmakers' pay and per diem starting June 16 if they did not pass a balanced budget.

So for now the Golden State will have to rely on another song from the Rolling Stones that laments, “I can’t get no satisfaction.”


Photo by freedom to marryavailable under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial License.

Tags: budget deficits, California budget, Governor Jerry Brown

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