Tuesday, February 17, 2009


SacBee CapitolAlert- Shane Goldmacher


Photo: Sen. Abel Maldonado, R-Santa Maria, talks to the media about his budget vote outside his office on Monday Feb. 16, 2009. Credit: Brian Baer/Sacramento Bee.

After a marathon weekend, including an all-night session beginning on the evening of Valentine's Day , passage of the roughly $40 billion plan remains one vote short.

With the budget stalled, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will send out layoff notices to 20,000 state workers today.

In his second emotional speech on the Senate floor in as many days, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg announced Monday that the upper house will take up the controversial tax-hike legislation this morning at 10 a.m.

And if, as expected, the bill does not pass he will lock down the Senate.

"We will stay on this floor until we get it done," Steinberg declared just before 8 p.m. Monday. "Bring a toothbrush, bring whatever necessities you need to bring."

Monday's floor session capped a whirlwind weekend that will continue into the week.

Way back on Saturday evening, Democratic lawmakers went into session with high hopes that the six necessary Republican votes were in hand.

Democratic Sen. Lou Correa ultimately sided with his fellow caucus members after a measure to give Orange County an extra slice of the state budget pie was included in the budget.

Three GOP votes seemed assured in the Assembly. (With a little sweetener of a tax break to provide the Glendora Community Redevelopment Agency with millions of additional dollars beginning this year. That just happens to be in the district of Republican Assemblyman Anthony Adams.)

But the vote stalled in the Senate, with only GOP leader Dave Cogdill going up on an initial piece of the budget puzzle and Sen. Roy Ashburn, R-Bakersfield, abstaining.

That's pretty much where the budget process still stands -- one vote short.

Oh, lawmakers in both houses stayed past sunrise, as the 27th vote focus shifted from Sen. Dave Cox, R-Fair Oaks, to Sen. Abel Maldonado, R-Santa Maria.

(Watch Capitol Alert's video highlights of the all-nighter.)

Maldonado was a particularly curious case. Early Sunday morning, he told the San Jose Mercury News, "There's nothing they can give me that would make me vote for this budget."

He snapped at Schwarzenegger: "Where was he when I needed him?" -- a reference to his 2006 primary loss in which he hoped for the governor's endorsement. And he took a swipe at Cogdill, saying "There's a difference between managing a caucus and leading a caucus."

But hours later, he told The Bee, "I'm very concerned with the tax package...We're still working on that. Everything's fluid... I don't want my state to go off the cliff, OK? I don't want that."

By Monday, Maldonado enumerated a list of four demands...

Maybe closing this package will take a miracle-worker. Speaking of which, Captain Chesley Sullenberger, he of the famed Hudson River plane landing last month, will be in the Capitol today.

Schwarzenegger and first lady Maria Shriver will host a celebration honoring Sullenberger in the Capitol rotunda at 11:30 a.m.

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