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Lawmakers Will Try Again Today After a Long Weekend
Monday, February 16, 2009
Both houses of the state legislature will meet again Monday to try to pass a California budget deal. An unprecedented weekend-long legislative session came up short. Marianne Russ reports.
The session was one for the record books. Over 24 hours, lawmakers took up dozens of bills aimed at eliminating the $40 billion deficit. Locked in overnight, they dozed at their desks, while legislative leaders and the Governor tried to corral enough votes to pass the package. The plan includes $14 billion in tax hikes, $15 billion in cuts and significant borrowing.
And it requires 3 G-O-P votes in each house to pass. Legislative leaders said Sunday night they still needed one Republican vote in the Senate. GOP Senator Sam Aanested voted against the package.
Aanested: "Why were we here? At what cost? At what cost to the staff, to the sergeants, to our families and to the people of California?"
Most Republican lawmakers have signed a pledge not to raise taxes….and a vote to do so is seen as a possible career-ender. That perennial sticking point frustrated Democratic Senate Leader Darrel Steinberg. He boiled over at Aanested as session was adjourning:
Steinberg: "And I wish to God that you could deviate just a little bit from your philosophy - just a little bit - from the endless mantra of no new revenue, no new revenue ever and be a participant and a partner with us in solving this problem."
Steinberg is pledging to come back every day until a budget agreement is reached. Meantime, the State Controller continues to delay tax refund checks and payments to counties who run social service programs for California. That's because without a budget solution in place, the state is still too short on cash to pay all of its bills.
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