Sunday night Assembly Democrats passed a $23.4 billion package of cuts, tax and fee increases, and accounting tricks designed to close a gaping hole in the budget for the fiscal year that starts Wednesday. On Monday, the California Senate followed suit acting upon the same package of legislative measures.
The Democratic majority vote solution is comprised of a package of bills that made deep cuts in state spending, raised taxes on cigarettes, imposed a new tax on oil production and raised or imposed new fees on property insurance policies, vehicle registration and drivers licenses.
Part of the debate circulated around the new oil severance tax. During the Senate Floor debate Senator Bob Dutton (R-Rancho Cucamonga) rose to speak regarding the potential effect of the new oil severance tax on jobs in California:
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger made it clear this morning he won’t sign a package of taxes and cuts approved by Assembly Democrats last night as a way of balancing the state budget.
“I will veto any majority vote tax increase bill that punishes taxpayers for Sacramento’s failure to live within its means,” the governor said in a prepared statement. “The Legislature will have a difficult time explaining to Californians why they are running floor drills the day before our budget deadline. We do not have time for any more floor drills or partial solutions. It’s time for the Legislature to send me a budget that solves our entire deficit without raising taxes.”
It’s sort of sun-rises-in-the-east news, since the governor had already said he did not favor further taxes or fees as part of the budget-balancing solution. But it does blunt the effects of the squeeze play Democratic legislators were attempting.
Senate Pro-Tem Darrel Steinberg (D-Sacramento) announced that the Senate will reconvene this afternoon at 4pm to continue budget discussions.