Special Saturday Vote On State Budget

February 14, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
State lawmakers come in on a rare Saturday session to make one of the biggest votes of their political careers: a budget proposal that has a lot for everyone to hate.There are nearly $14.5 billion dollars in new taxes and more than $15 billion in spending cuts and, $11 billion in borrowing.

Assembly Speaker Karen Bass said the package she helped negotiate for three months is a bitter pill to swallow, but she will vote yes.

Assm. Speaker Karen Bass (D) Los Angeles said, "The only reason I will take a vote like this is because we had absolutely no choice. The state of California is ready to go off the cliff and we have to be responsible and prevent that from happening."

Most Republicans signed an anti-tax pledge. It'll be tough to get the three GOP votes necessary in each house to pass the budget, even though California is on the brink of insolvency.

Assemblyman Ted Gaines (R) Roseville will vote 'no' because the new taxes are unaffordable in this recession. Gaines said, "If you had a small family, making about $50,000 a year, you'd be looking at $1000 to $1200 increase in taxes."

But state leaders insist there was no way to close the $42 billion dollar deficit without new taxes. In fact they said the taxes helped ease the cuts they had to make. Education is slated to be cut $8.6 billion dollars.

Kevin Gordon, a public schools lobbyist said, "The education community is not happy, obviously. But there's a lot of unhappiness in the Capitol. They key is they need to get a budget done and there's a lot of revenues that have to be part of the budget to not make it worse."

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