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Budget Veto Leaves Fiscal Situation Unresolved

Posted on Friday, June 17, 2011 7:43am

Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg and Assembly Speaker John Perez

Well, that was fast. Less than 24 hours after Democratic state lawmakers passed a budget, California Governor Jerry Brown vetoed it.

Governor Brown says the plan approved by the Democratic majority was legally questionable and didn’t meet the needs of the state. He acknowledges the veto was highly unusual.

“For the first time in history, the state budget has been vetoed. That’s big, and it sends a powerful message that all of us have to do more,” said Brown.

To Brown, that means adopting his budget proposal, which includes extending a series of tax increases. That requires Republican votes, which after about six months of talks, the Governor’s been unable to secure. Brown says the only alternative to his plan is deep cuts – and he’s taking aim at the GOP for their rejection of taxes.

“If the people want to say no – if they don’t really want to take the steps needed to protect public safety, to bring government closer to the people and protect their schools, then that’s on their conscience, the Governor said.

Not so, says But Republican Assemblyman Jim Nielsen disagrees. “I believe it’s the governor’s responsibility, because he’s taken the position that it’s his budget or no budget,” he said.

The plan Brown vetoed would have put off payments to schools, cut funding for courts and universities and put new fees in place. The Democrats who crafted it were taken aback by the Governor’s rejection.

“We are deeply dismayed by the Governor’s decision,” said Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg. “The Governor I think is really getting caught up and frankly a little bit confused between total victory, which in this process cannot be achieved in most instances in one year, and progress.”

The Governor says he’ll keep negotiating with Republicans and insists he can come up with something better. He has two weeks before the new fiscal year begins to make good on that promise.

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