Wednesday, June 22, 2011

More on the Controller's Decision to Suspend Legislator Pay

By Ellen Cushing
Wed, Jun 22, 2011 at 10:50 AM

Well, it certainly hasn't been a good week for our state legislators: on Friday, as you probably know, Jerry Brown vetoed the budget proposal passed by state democrats, and as of last night, they're not even getting paid. Now, it's looking like much of controller John Chiang's decision centers around his his determination that education funding alloted in the proposed budget would fall at least $1.3 billion short of the amount legally madated by Proposition 98. Per John Fensterwald at Educated Guess:

The Legislature has the right to appropriate less than schools are entitled to — they did it last year for the current budget — but suspending Prop 98 demands a two-thirds majority. Democrats, who passed the budget bill by a majority vote, didn’t try, and it’s no mystery why. Republicans, at this point at least, are saying they won’t supply the votes needed for suspension....John Mockler, who wrote the Prop 98 law two decades ago and was familiar with this year’s budget process, said that, in writing their budget, Democrats acknowledged that they owed school districts $1 billion in “settle-up” costs from the current and previous years’ budgets. This is the final amount after the books are closed. Mockler said that Democrats then disregarded the debt, figuring they’d pay it sometime in the future.

Yikes. At any rate, Brown is expected to propose a new budget as soon as today — though, as Fensterwald points out, who knows how he'll make more cuts without the Republican votes needed to suspend 98.

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