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:
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
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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