Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A State without a Budget - Day 65 begins: AM ALERT: CONTINUOUS BLOVIATIONS

Sacramento Bee: Capitol Alert | Shane Goldmacher - Capitol Alert Coordinator

Sept 3/6:02 AM -- Assembly Speaker Karen Bass cancelled plans for an Assembly floor session today. Instead, the Assembly Budget Committee will hold a hearing on the Republican budget proposal.

The wonkish fun begins at 1:30 p.m., with the Legislative Analyst's Office and the Department of Finance invited to testify. Before that, though, Bass and other Democrats will hold a press conference to discuss (and presumably criticize) the GOP spending plan.

State senators will again convene at 4 p.m. to talk about the budget, though there's no voting expected. The Big Five -- the four legislative leaders and the governor -- is tentatively scheduled to meet at 2 p.m. today.

One topic that's likely to come up is whether the state should pass some type of "continuous appropriation" law to make good on its unpaid bills. Republican lawmakers have been pushing for that stopgap approach, as the budget deadlock stretches into its third month. Senate leader Don Perata has blocked such legislation, but punted the decision to the governor on Tuesday, writing in a letter to Schwarzenegger that "only you have the constitutional authority to ask for legislation to appropriate funds" for unpaid bills. Schwarzenegger fired back a letter saying, "Legislators should not be devising band-aid solutions like continuing appropriations. What legislators should be focused on is passing a budget." With the state short of cash, Schwarzenegger said any such appropriations would require a costly loan that could "dig our budget hole" deeper by hundreds of millions of dollars.

Finally, if you thought legislative fundraising ended in August...well, you'd be wrong. Today Assemblyman Joe Coto, D-San Jose, has a golf outing for donors at Teal Bend. Assemblyman Roger Niello, R-Fair Oaks, woos contributors at the Sutter Club. While Assemblyman Bill Emmerson, R-Redlands, and Assemblyman Bob Huff, R-Diamond Bar, are both collecting checks at the Esquire Grill during the lunch hour.

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