As budget battle continues, Lawmakers await word on whether they’ll get paid

150 150 John Guenther

The big question now surrounding California’s budget is whether or not lawmakers will receive pay after passing a budget by last week’s deadline and then having that budget vetoed by the governor.

Controller John Chiang has said he is studying the language of Proposition 25, passed by voters in November to withhold lawmaker pay if a budget is not passed on time. At issue is whether last week’s budget proposal is balanced and financeable, two provisions that must be met under prop 25. Governor Jerry Brown contends that it was neither.

Now, as the Sacramento Bee’s Kevin Yamamura reports, an anti-tax group is threatening to sue, if the decision is made to pay lawmakers without a budget in place.

The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association demanded Friday that Controller John Chiang withhold pay from lawmakers and threatened to sue if he does not.

The group’s president, Jon Coupal, contends that lawmakers must pass a balanced budget to receive pay under voter-approved Proposition 25. He referred to a veto letter in which Gov. Jerry Brown said the Democrats’ majority-vote budget was “not a balanced solution” and “not financeable.”

“If you pay legislators for enacting a phony budget, then you have made Proposition 25’s provision prohibiting pay meaningless,” Coupal wrote. “We urge you to confirm your intent to withhold pay and force the Legislature to get back to work immediately.”

Coupal’s group opposes Brown’s effort to extend taxes and has urged Republicans to stick to their no-new-tax pledges.

The Democratic controller said Thursday he needed more time to analyze the budget bills to determine whether Democrats met their obligation. His office hopes to finish crunching data by early next week.

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California Forward will continue to follow the budget process as it unfolds and bring you the latest developments, as well as analysis.


John Guenther

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