Controller John Chiang discusses his decision to halt paychecks for all 120 state lawmakers after they failed to come up with a balanced budget by the June 15th deadline, during an interview with the Associated Press in Sacramento, Calif., Tuesday, June 21, 2011. Chiang said that he found the plan passed by Democrats on a simple majority vote last week was not balanced and therefore lawmakers did not meet the requirement for getting paid under Proposition 25, passed by the voters in November
California lawmakers must forfeit their pay as of mid-June because the budget they passed last week — which Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed less than 24 hours later -– was not balanced, the state controller said Tuesday.
Since last week, Controller John Chiang, a Democrat, has been pondering whether to pay lawmakers. They passed budget legislation on June 15, meeting their constitutional deadline for only the second time in a quarter-century, but their plan relied heavily on accounting schemes to paper over the state’s deficit. In his veto message, Brown said he could not sign such a plan.
Chiang, who issues the state’s paychecks, said Tuesday that it wasn’t sufficient to keep their pay coming.
Voters approved a law last fall that empowered legislators to pass a budget with a simple majority vote but also threatened to strip them of pay for every day the blueprint is late. The measure makes no mention of approving a balanced budget, but other laws on the books dictate that state budgets be balanced.
Chiang’s decision is widely expected to spur a lawsuit, and lawmakers had begun questioning his authority over their pay even before he made his decision.
Yeah, here come the lawsuits and the California supreme Court will ultimately decide the issue. But, if I were the Democrats who hold an overwhelming majority in the Assembly and the State Senate, I would get busy and pass another budget – one that is balanced.
But, then again, the majority Dems would have to vote for unpopular cuts in spending and they don’t really want to do that.