Politics

Deadline for Sacramento budget 5 days away

Thursday, June 09, 2011

The state deadline for lawmakers in Sacramento to pass a budget is next Wednesday and they don't appear to be any closer than they were two months ago. The main sticking point is taxes. While Democrats keep working on a way to extend some temporary taxes for several more years, they are now pushing for an emergency temporary solution.

"We are five days away from the budget deadline," said St. Sen. Darrell Steinberg, D-Senate President.

The pressure is on to get the state budget approved before lawmakers see their pay docked for every day the spending blueprint is late. The temporary sales tax and vehicle license fee hikes expire and go back to a lower rate at the end of the month.

And with no way to ask California voters whether to extend them before then to keep vital services going, Democrats want Republicans to sign off on "bridge funding", keeping the temporary taxes higher until a special election can be held, perhaps in September.

"It is going to be up to the members, their members specifically, to decide whether they want to leave public schools and police and sheriff's departments in a lurch," said Steinberg.

Budget negotiations have centered around trying to get Republicans to go along with a special election. GOP leaders are not happy Democrats have thrown in short-term funding on top of it.

Enough Republicans are prepared to give Gov. Brown and Democrats their special election in exchange for major changes in government, but no votes are apparently there for bridge funding.

"I haven't heard anybody indicate that they're willing at this stage of the game to be able to put any kind of bridge fund financing or any kind of temporary tax," said St. Sen. Bob Dutton, R-Minority Leader.

All this talk about bridge funding and a special election for tax extensions is moot at this point for public schools.

"It doesn't help, really, because all the school districts have already made their plans up for next year. Teachers have gotten layoff notices because they went out on March and programs have been cut already," said Dino Suarez, a 4th grade teacher from Fairfield.

Republicans want the Legislature to enact more spending cuts or use the $6.5 billion tax windfall until voters weigh in on the extending the temporary taxes.

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Tags:
tax, sacramento, california budget, politics, nannette miranda
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