California’s budget mess got even messier Wednesday, with the failure of legislators to reach a compromise on spending cuts, the state controller warning he will issue IOUs next week instead of checks, and no clear idea of what to do next.
Facing a $24 billion deficit, Democrats put up for votes a bill containing about $11 billion in spending cuts. The measures required two-thirds majorities to pass but fell short in both chambers on mostly party-line votes, with Republicans saying the reductions did not go far enough. Democrats then called it a day rather than stage a drawn-out spectacle.
Democrats also proposed $1.9 billion in tax increases on oil extraction, tobacco and car registrations, but those were not put up for a vote Wednesday given fierce Republican opposition. The following video clip is from Senator Roy Ashburn’s (R-Bakersfield) Senate Floor speech during yesterday’s budget debate.
The question now is whether the two sides can find a compromise in time to avoid a fiscal meltdown. Both parties have drawn lines in the sand.