CA budget vote scheduled for Saturday

February 13, 2009 7:18:53 PM PST
Governor Schwarzenegger held off on sending out lay-off notices to 20,000 state workers. He's giving lawmakers a chance to pass a new budget on Saturday, during a special session, to close the $42 billion deficit.

Even though the vote is scheduled for Saturday, the final details of the budget are still being worked out. But in the meantime, lawmakers have a tough decision: vote for deep taxes and steep cuts, or let California go into insolvency, by letting the 100-day stalemate continue.

Whether it's by phone, by fax or by email, Republican lawmakers have been flooded with anti-tax messages.

"I've gotten dozens and dozens and dozens of phone calls by irate constituents about the $14 billion tax increase," said Assemblyman Ted Gaines (R) Roseville.

A popular and powerful Southern California radio station, the "John and Ken Show," has declared war on any Republican voting for tax increases, even putting on their website the heads of GOP members on a stick.

That implies they are toast at the next election.

Assemblyman Anthony Adams from Hesperia knows that.

"It's a huge amount of pressure," said Assemblyman Adams. "All of these things are going to be painful. But we've gotten ourselves into a position where we have no other choices, and the worst thing we can do, bar none, is to do nothing."

Democrats aren't off the hook either. The cuts to social services are very deep -- nearly $16 billion. Protesters feel betrayed by a party that typically sticks up for the poor.

"When you stick with a party when it's going against everything you know is right, you're selling yourself out," said disabled worker Petrita Powers.

State Senator Lou Correa, a Democrat who represents parts of conservative Orange County, won his seat on a "no new taxes pledge."

Democatic leaders wonder if they'll be able to hang onto those seats in the next election.

"We're always worried about that. Frankly, tomorrow's vote is just one of many difficult decisions Assemblymembers will have to make this year," said Assembly Speaker Karen Bass (D) Los Angeles.

In order to meet the two-thirds vote requirement, at least three Republicans in each house have to vote for this budget proposal that will come out sometime on Saturday morning.

Given that all the Democrats are going to vote, if they do in fact, vote for this, there are three Republicans in the Assembly, but it's going to be tougher in the Senate.

Governor Schwarzenegger has been working the phones to round up the votes.


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