from the Sac Bee Capitol Alert : Monday 15 SeptemBEr
There are only nine months left until the constitutional deadline to pass next year's budget.
Or, put another way, state lawmakers are now three months past the constitutional deadline to pass this year's budget.
The story of the weekend, though, was the private e-mail Senate leader Don Perata sent to his Democratic colleagues late last week. The Bee obtained a copy.
In it, he talks strategy for crafting a no-tax budget.
"Reps won't go on a tax. And he (Schwarzenegger) has no truck with them to get them," Perata wrote. "I said we urgently need a budget - let's see if I can work on a deal with Reps that is no tax, no borrowing. (Schwarzenegger) agreed."
"We'll do our best to hold the line on borrowing," he writes later.
Once a plan is done, Perata wrote, "We'll then bring in the assembly leaders to show them what we're sending them. And then we go to the floor the moment we have mocked-up language ready."
Perata also names names of GOP lawmakers he and the governor were trying to pick off: "I spoke with Ashburn who wasn't willing to go up without a stable mate. Margett apparently refused the gov."
But the best parts are Perata's raw political assessments, such as:
"SEIU was OK with borrowing"
"The gov's recall gives him extra motivation to join us."
"Gray Davis wasn't dumped because he didn't have budget reform."
The complete e-mail:
Sent: Fri Sep 12 04:23:04 2008
Subject: Budget Saga
Here's what happened to today's floor session:
It became clear throughout Thursday that the gov had no Rep votes. I spoke with Ashburn who wasn't willing to go up without a stable mate. Margett apparently refused the gov.
Late afternoon, I told the gov I saw no point in going to the floor only to prove what we all know: Reps won't go on a tax. And he has no truck with them to get them.
I said we urgently need a budget - let's see if I can work on a deal with Reps that is no tax, no borrowing. He agreed.
So Denise, Mike and I will work today with Cogdill and Dutton. And tomorrow. And Sunday, or until whenever there is a deal.
We'll then bring in the assembly leaders to show them what we're sending them. And then we go to the floor the moment we have mocked-up language ready.
The gov still insists on a budget reform amendment as a condition of his signature. We'll see. As of yesterday morning, he was back to his most draconian version, which is not acceptable.
Darrell and I met with the ed coalition. They were unwilling to support taking up the gov's budget. Too much risk for not enough gain. The tax cut bothered them (a la fate of car tax) and they view the budget amendment as end of days. (They are not certain it could be beaten on the ballot).
On "what's next" they were divided. CTA didn't like borrowing because 98 doesn't benefit. SEIU was OK with borrowing. AFSCME and CMA more to armageddon option on the
theory their members are being "bled out".
(SEIU - as many of you know- has been calling selected members to ask them not to vote. But the entire "revenue coalition" were working the phones. Opposition to our strategy, but none of their own).
That brings us current.
We'll remain on call of the chair day-to-day. 12 hour notice. Realistically, nothing over the week-end.
We'll do our best to hold the line on borrowing. The gov's recall gives him extra motivation to join us. Gray Davis wasn't dumped because he didn't have budget reform.
As an aside, there was hope in the horseshoe to still get the lottery on the November ballot! Well, no, that's not possible.
So there you have it. Lemme know if you have questions.
Diane, Erin, pro tem and budget staff have worked themselves to exhaustion. We gotta get this done if only to prevent them from being institutionalized!
Today's also a busy day on the fund-raising front, with the state Republican Party hosting an high-priced golf event on the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe.
"For all the Republican hot air about jobs fleeing to Nevada you'd wonder why they wouldn't support a local California golf course," sniped Brian Brokaw of the California Democratic Party.
GOP leaders Mike Villines and Dave Cogdill backed out of the event late last week, citing the stalled budget.
Assemblywoman Fiona Ma, D-San Francisco, has a fundraiser in San Francisco with a mix of past legislative firepower (Willie Brown and John Burton) and future legislative hopefuls (Tom Ammiano, Joan Buchanan, Paul Fong, Jerry Hill, Bill Monning and Nancy Skinner) set to attend.
Assembly Speaker Karen Bass will headline, though spokesman Steve Maviglio said she's playing her attendance by ear, depending on the status of budget talks.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, meanwhile, is fund-raising for Proposition 11, the redistricting measure, with events in Los Angeles and the Bay Area. His attendance also depends on the budget.