California Governor Schwarzenegger Rejects GOP Senate Leader’s Call to Reopen State Budget Negotiations Without Tax Increases

Posted Posted in Arnold Schwarzenegger, California Budget, Darrell Steinberg, Dennis Hollingsworth
arnold feb 17

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger speaks during an event February 17, 2009 at the State Captiol in Sacramento, California. California lawmakers remained deadlocked Wednesday over a plan to increase taxes to tackle the state’s budget deficit as Republicans ousted their legislative leader for his support of tax hikes

California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger held a noon time new conference on his State of California Website and rejected newley elected GOP Senate Leader Dennis Hollingsworth’s call to reopen stalemated California state budget negotiations with taxes off of the table. He said those Senators that think the California State Budget shortfall can be solved without new tax revenues do not know their math and need to retake math 101.

The Quote:

“Anyone that runs around, I think, and says that this can be done without raising taxes, I think has not really looked at it carefully to understand this budget or has a math problem and has to get back, as I said, and take Math 101,” Schwarzenegger said.

In the meantime, the California State Senate has reconvened and Senate Democrat Leader Darrell Steinberg called up AB 3, the budget tax bill for a vote and it failed 23 to 12 (27 affirmative votes necessary for passage). Note: GOP Senators Cogdill, Ashburn and Cox did NOT vote along with Democrat Senator Correa.

Steinberg then took to the floor of the Senate and said he would call up a vote every hour on the hour and update the state of the state if a budget does not pass today. This hour was a potential loss of federal transportation money.

Stay tuned……


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California State Senate Remains in LOCK DOWN – California Budget Stalemate Continues While Steinberg Vows to Continue

Posted 1 CommentPosted in California Budget, Darrell Steinberg, Steve Poizner
+++++ 11 AM Update+++++

New California State Senate Leader Dennis Hollingsworth has called for re-opening Big 5 California State Budget negotiations while taking taxes off of the table.

In a news conference with Senator Barbara Boxer, Senate Democrat Leader Darrell Steinberg rejects this approach and vows to continue to pursue one or two GOP Senators to vote for the current Big 5 proposal.

Cogdill ousted with a hug

State Senator Dave Cogdill, R-Modesto, gets a hug from Sen. Gloria Romero, D-Los Angeles, after he was ousted as Senate Minority Leader at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif., Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2009. In a late night move, Cogdill was voted out of his leadership position and replaced by Sen. Dennis Hollingsworth, R-Temecula

California State Senate Democrat Leader Darrell Steinberg continues to hold the Senate hostage and in “LOCK DOWN” (Senators cannot leave the Capitol) in an attempt to pass a California State Budget which includes tax increases.

The state Senate reconvened Wednesday morning and lifted the call on the tax-hike part of the legislative puzzle.

The roll was called and the votes remained unchanged around 8:30 a.m. 23 ayes. 12 noes.

Senate Democrats immediately called for a private caucus off the floor.

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, in a brief interview, reiterated that the Democrats’ strategy remains the same, despite the ousting of GOP leader Dave Cogdill late last night.

“The question is does this mean we go back to square one and start over? Absolutely not,” the bleary-eyed Sacramento Democrat said.

He is “focused on gaining the one additional vote” needed to pass the budget, he said.

Negotiations continue with GOP Senator Abel Maldonado on his “WISH LIST” who voted NO on the budget late last night.

It seems to Flap that a TIME OUT should be called and a continuing resolution ala Steve Poizner should be considered along with a special election in May.

Stay tuned….


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California GOP Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner – Scrap Big Five California Budget Deal – No Tax Increases for California

Posted 1 CommentPosted in California Budget, Steve Poizner
Poizner-Countdown

Steve Poizner, Republican California Insurance Commissioner and candidate for California Governor has come out against the Big 5 California Budget deal.

State Insurance Commission and Republican gubernatorial candidate Steve Poizner called on lawmakers today to put the brakes on a contentious, 18-month budget deal and instead pass an emergency, six-month package to keep California from insolvency.

With lawmakers one vote shy of a deal to close a $40 billion hole in the state budget, Poizner said all sides should back away from the plan in order to avoid tax increases he charged would disproportionately affect middle- and low-income Californians.

Roughly $10 billion of the $14 billion in taxes would come from hiking taxes on gas, income and vehicles.

“They don’t have the guts to raise taxes on rich people because rich people have lobbyists and rich people are mobile and rich people will leave,” Poizner said in a meeting today with The Bee Capitol Bureau. “And yet they’re raising taxes on people who aren’t mobile, who don’t have lobbyists. This is really the most disgusting, terrible thing I’ve heard in a long time – the idea of raising $14 billion of taxes on working class people who are about to lose their homes.”

Poizner said lawmakers should cut a six-month budget deal that would include $15.8 billion in state spending cuts and $10.9 billion in borrowing – figures already negotiated by lawmakers – and up to $10 billion in state aid from the federal economic stimulus package approved by Congress.

Afterward, Poizner said lawmakers should develop a budget for the following 12 months that would streamline state government and balance the books without raising taxes.

Steve Poizner is moving to the RIGHT on fiscal policy and is positioning himself well in the race for the GOP nomination for Governor against former e-Bay CEO Meg Whitman. Poizner has garned most of the endorsements of the GOP members of the California Legislature.

Now, will Poizner be able to persuade anti-tax crusaders and Los Angeles radio (KFI 640) shock jocks John and Ken to support him?

Stay tuned as the California State Budget Stalemate continues.


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Will GOP Senator Abel Maldonado Break the California Budget Stalemate and Sell Out California Taxpayers?

Posted 4 CommentsPosted in Abel Maldonado, Arnold Schwarzenegger, California Budget
abel maldonado

State Senator Abel Maldonado, R-Santa Maria, gestures while calling for more reforms on the state budget plan before the Legislature, at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif., Monday, Feb. 16, 2009. Maldonado has been pressured to vote for the spending plan, hammered out between Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and legislative leaders

This is the question as the California State Senate is set to reconvene at 10 AM in Sacramento.

So, what does Senator Maldonado, the reputed stalemate breaking vote really want?

On Monday, Maldonado said he would “take a look at” voting for the budget package if it included financial penalties for future legislators who fail to pass state budgets on time or drive the state into deficit. And Maldonado, who lost a 2006 bid for state controller to a more conservative challenger, said he wants future California primary elections to be “open,” allowing voters to cross party lines to cast a ballot.

Though widely believed to want to run again for statewide office, Maldonado said in an interview: “An open primary is for the people of California, it’s not for me. I don’t want anything in this budget that’s for me. I’m not for sale.”

Yet, Senator Maldonado has made it clear over the weekend what is on his WISH LIST.

The Santa Maria Republican told reporters Monday outside his office that his list of demands includes four things. He wants an open primary system similar to those used by local governments in which the top two vote-getters regardless of party run in the general election. The system is said to favor moderate candidates, such as himself, rather than encourage primary hopefuls to woo voters at their party’s extremes. He acknowledged he plans to run for statewide office, but sold the open primary as more of a “good government reform.”

The open primary change would have to be approved by voters. Maldonado did not specify when he wanted it, but sources said he has asked that it be included on the May special election ballot before Maldonado attempts to run for statewide office next year.

Maldonado wants two items sure to be unpopular with his colleagues. He wants a law passed so the state would stop paying lawmakers if they do not approve the budget on time. He also wants a ban on legislative pay raises and per diem increases in years when California faces a budget deficit. An independent board, the California Citizens Compensation Commission, currently sets legislative pay.

And he threw in one last item: remove the pork spending from the budget package. He didn’t specify what qualified as pork, but leaders already have provided small sweeteners for various members to help win their support, such as $35 million annually for Orange County, where Sen. Lou Correa lives. Maldonado also wants to block state Controller John Chiang from spending $1 million on new office furniture, something Chiang’s office said was approved before Chiang was elected.

Maldonado sounded amenable to only getting part of his wish list, however. “I think government reform is a priority. It could be one, it could be two, at the end of the day, I want government to be reformed.”

It is obvious that the Senator wishes to run for California statewide office and wants his vote breaking the California State Budget Stalemate as a quid pro quo to help facilitate that result. However, what Maldonado does not understand is that by selling out California taxpayers, he will incur their wrath both Republican and Democrat.

The Democrat Leaders and Governor Schswarzenegger have played him the perfect fool. They will blame him as to holding up the proceedings and anything untoward as a result of the passage of the budget they will blame Abel.

So, rather than being an anti-tax hero in the GOP, Maldonado will be played a patsy by the Democrats and end his political career.

Not a smart move, Senator. Not for yourself or the California taxpayers.

In the meantime, California taxpayers can help persuade Senator Maldonado to not support the Big 5 budget deal with its concomitant tax increases. Here is his contact information:

Capitol Office

State Capitol, Room 4082
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 651-4015
Fax: (916) 445-8081
   
San Jose Office

100 Paseo de San Antonio, #206
San Jose, CA 95113
Phone: (408) 277-9461
Fax: (408) 277-9464

Monterey Office

590 Calle Principal
Monterey, CA 93940
Phone: (831) 657-6315
Fax: (831) 657-6320
   
San Luis Obispo Office

1356 Marsh Street
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
Phone: (805) 549-3784
Fax: (805) 549-3779


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Shocker: California on the BRINK of Financial Collapse? Governor Schwarzenegger Ready to Send 20,000 Layoff Notices

Posted 2 CommentsPosted in Abel Maldonado, Arnold Schwarzenegger, California Budget, Darrell Steinberg
Ca-on-the-brink

California on the Brink screams the Drudge LEDE.

Shocking?

No, because California has been in financial trouble for some time now and RINO GOP Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is the main cause for his inability to lead and govern the Golden State.

So, where does California stand and what is the urgency?

Lawmakers adjourned tonight until Tuesday after failing for the third consecutive day to muster an elusive final vote for the state budget package.

The move came after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said he would send 20,000 layoff notices on Tuesday and other administration officials warned of construction stoppages if the $40 billion budget shortfall and the associated cash crunch are not resolved.

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, said the Senate would consider the critical tax increase bill on Tuesday morning, whether or not a third Republican senator comes forward to provide the deciding vote. He said the house would stay in session until the package was approved.

“Bring a toothbrush, bring whatever necessities you need to bring,” Steinberg told senators as the house shut down for the evening.

The tentative deal would bridge an estimated $40 billion budget gap through a massive mix of program cuts, borrowing and new revenues, including vehicle license fee increases and higher gasoline, sales and personal income taxes.

Key elements require passage by a two-thirds majority of the Senate and Assembly – thus three GOP votes in each house.

The California State Senate will reconvene at 10 AM this morning and the tax bill will be taken up. Should the Big 5 Legislative Leaders not be able to persuade one GOP California State Senator to flip their vote for the California State Budget with tax increases, the stalemate will continue.

And, according to Democrat Senate Leader Steinberg, the Senators will be locked in the State Senate chamber until there is a resolution.

Here are the details of the Big Five crafted plan.

Revenue

The plan would raise up to $14.4 billion through June 2010 by imposing a variety of temporary taxes. The higher taxes would be in effect for two years. However, Republicans would allow taxes to remain longer – two more years – if voters approve a state spending cap during a special election in May.

Here are the specific taxes:

  • Increases the state sales tax by 1 cent on the dollar, generating $5.8 billion through the next fiscal year.
  • Raises the fee for licensing vehicles to 1.15 percent of market value, up from the current .65 percent. The move is projected to generate $1.5 billion. A portion of the fee will be dedicated to local law enforcement.
  • Adds a 12-cent gasoline tax, raising $2 billion.
  • Imposes a one-time, 5 percent surcharge on people who owe personal income tax at the end of 2009 to generate $3.2 billion. If the state receives more than expected from the federal government, the surcharge would be reduced to 2.5 percent.
  • Reduces the amount taxpayers can claim on a dependent care credit to the federal level of $100 instead of $300, adding $1.4 billion.
  • Redirects $201.6 million of tribal gambling revenue from the state Department of Transportation to the general fund over the two-year period. The money is intended to offset the effects of increased traffic around Indian casinos.

The GOP Senate Caucus does not support the above tax increases and insist that more cuts in state government spending be made.

Stay tuned as the California State Budget Stalemate continues.

Flap will be live microblogging the California State Senate Session on Twitter (in the right sidebar) ——>


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California State Budget Stalemate Continues – Will Senator Abel Maldonado Flip And Sell Out California Taxpayers?

Posted 1 CommentPosted in Abel Maldonado, Arnold Schwarzenegger, California, California Budget
California_Senate_chamber

California State Senate Chamber, State Capitol, Sacramento, California

After a weekend of a continued California State Budget stalemate, the California Assembly and Senate are to meet this morning to again take up the matter.

Dan Walters at the Sacramento Bee has a good summary of the weekend’s machinations – which at the time of this posting seemingly has NO end in sight.

Even jaded veterans of the Capitol’s often bizarre internal politics had never seen anything quite like the weekend marathon over the biggest package of spending, spending cuts and taxes ever to hit the building – a spectacle that’s still playing itself out with no end in sight.

The package was cobbled together by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and four legislative leaders in weeks of private negotiations to close a $40 billion budget deficit over the next 16 months.

Legislators had just hours to absorb the dozens of bills, the most vital of which, under the state’s unusual voting rules, required two-thirds votes and therefore at least three Republicans in both legislative houses.

The outcome was never in doubt in the Assembly, whose GOP leader, Mike Villines, enjoys strong support among his colleagues. The issue has been the Senate’s 15-member, notoriously fragmented Republican contingent whose leader, Dave Cogdill, is always about one vote away from being dumped – if anyone else would take the job.

Cogdill would vote for the package along with Bakersfield Sen. Roy Ashburn, but the third GOP senator was elusive throughout the weekend as speculation – and outside pressure – shifted from one senator to another.

Flap has been covering and micro-blogging the events in the California Assembly and State Senate on Twitter (right sidebar) and Facebook (right sidebar, but below). Continuing coverage will resume at 9 AM PST (now pushed back to Noon) with the Assembly and 11 AM with the State Senate.

If you readers wish to watch the proceedings via live video you can do so in two ways:

  • Time Warner Cable Television Channel 233 (Los Angeles area) – California Channel
  • Online California Channel here (But, this has proven to be erratic due to too much traffic)

The latest rumor from the Capitol is that Senator Abel Maldonado is negotiating with Big 5 Legislative Leaders and Governor. He will provide the necessary vote to approve tax increases and the state budget in return for a vote on a spending cap initiative, plus a vote on a California Open Primary (Top 2 Washington Plan) election system on the May 19, 2009 special election (called to approve other budgetary enabling measures, including bonds for future lottery proceeds).

So, the question is: Will GOP Senator Abel Maldonado flip to the Democrats and Governor Schwarzenegger and sell out California taxpayers?

Contact one of his offices and ask him:

Capitol Office

State Capitol, Room 4082
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 651-4015
Fax: (916) 445-8081
   
San Jose Office

100 Paseo de San Antonio, #206
San Jose, CA 95113
Phone: (408) 277-9461
Fax: (408) 277-9464

Monterey Office

590 Calle Principal
Monterey, CA 93940
Phone: (831) 657-6315
Fax: (831) 657-6320
   
San Luis Obispo Office

1356 Marsh Street
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
Phone: (805) 549-3784
Fax: (805) 549-3779


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