Gov, Dems try to find budget compromise

December 23, 2008 10:07:49 PM PST
The budget situation is critical. The state will run out of money in just two months. So the Governor is taking the unusual step of cutting out his own party to work out some sort of budget deal with democratic leaders.

Governor Schwarzenegger is now negotiating a budget solution exclusively with Democrats. It's Day 48 of the impasse, and with the state's financial woes mounting, he feels he can make better progress without Republicans.

"It's sad for me to say that they are not at the table. I cannot force them to the table. So therefore, in order to save California, I'm forced to go and just negotiate with the Democrats at this point," said Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) California.

Republicans have been stewing over the Democratic plan designed to circumvent the GOP and the two-thirds vote requirement for tax hikes, by increasing fees instead. That has strained the Governor's relationship with his party even more as it becomes more apparent he could sign the Democratic plan if he gets more concessions.

"The frictions are old, and they don't seem to be getting any better. I would certainly admit that," said State Senator Dave Cogdill (R) Fresno on December 11th.

The Governor also doesn't seem to be bothered by the legal challenge that is imminent if he signs a Democratic budget plan.

"Endless amounts of projects that we pass in our Capitol get sued afterwards, and some you win. Some you lose," said Gov. Schwarzenegger.

Taxpayer groups are ready to take the Democratic plan to court, if the Governor signs it.

"The end-run around Republicans is illegal, whether he wants to do it or not," said Jon Coupal from Howard Javis Taxpayers Association

But with the state running out of cash in a little over a month, the Democratic plan that has $18 billion in cuts and new revenue may be the only hope in preventing California from going bankrupt.

"It is the only solution we put forward, so far, that has the votes to pass," said Assembly Speaker Karen Bass (D) Los Angeles.

The Governor and Democratic leaders will resume talks on Friday. Senate President Darryl Steinberg believes that a Democratic plan with the Governor changes could be put up for a vote before the new year and pass without Republican votes.


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