Won’t somebody please think of the children?!
Yesterday, in a letter to legislative leaders, State Controller John Chiang, State Treasurer Bill Lockyer and Director of Finance Ana Matosantos announced they will be deferring $2.5 billion in payments to schools and $400 million to counties “because the state has not enacted a timely budget that would provide valuable additional savings and receipts and allow for external borrowing.” According to Rich Pratt, assistant executive director of the California School Boards Association, the deferral will force districts to borrow more funds to cover their bills until the state pays up, driving up costs and taking money from classrooms.
Do you have questions or recommendations for legislators about the state budget? Today begins a series of three live internet town halls focused on the state budget and hosted by Legislative Democrats. At 6:30 p.m. Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg & Senator Loni Hancock will answer questions submitted through the Senate Majority Caucus website. Tomorrow’s live town hall is dedicated to Spanish-speaking Californians featuring Sen. Denise Moreno-Ducheny & Sen. Gilbert Cedillo. Sen. Mark Leno, Sen. Curren Price and Sen. Fran Pavley wrap up the live internet town halls on Thursday. Try not to ask about new taxes, which Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said would only happen over his dead body.
In other budget related news, at a town hall meeting this morning in Goleta, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said there should be consequences such as forfeited pay for legislators if the budget is late. A section of Prop. 25 on the November ballot forfeits pay for legislators if the budget is late.
The end of the legislative session is next Tuesday, Aug. 31 and the Legislature has no plans to close up shop before then. Sacramento Bee columnist Dan Walters describes the “hectic atmosphere that permeates the Capitol in the final days of the 2009-10 biennial session.” Walters notes that at least 600 bills are waiting to be passed or rejected.
Armando Botello II is a communications associate at California Forward.