Two Months Late, California State Budget Fails Again

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A vote on the state budget that is two months late fell two votes short of passage yesterday in Sacramento. Senate Democrats introduced a budget compromise that included most of what Governor Schwarzenegger suggested last week, including a temporary sales tax increase along with additional cuts and budget reform to curb future spending. KPCC's Julie Small reports that not a single Republican senator took the bait.

Julie Small: Democrats agreed to cut an additional two billion in government spending, mostly from education and health and humans services. They gave the governor authority to make mid-year spending cuts – something they said they'd never do.

The one thing they stood firm on: they rejected the governor's plan to lower the sales tax after a temporary hike. They said would deepen the deficit. Senate Pro Tem Don Perata told Republicans, the governor got everything he'd asked for and that Democrats were done negotiating.

Don Perata: Two months late and with little left to offer, my friends across the aisle, it's now your turn. Either vote to approve the compromise that the governor tells us you support, or offer an alternative that will be accepted by the majority here and signed by the governor.

Small: Republicans answered that challenge by voting no. Although they called the Democrats' compromise a step in the right direction, they rejected the plan because it relies on billions of dollars in tax increases to close the deficit. The Senate Minority leader Dave Cogdill took up the challenge to make a counter proposal.

Dave Cogdill: We believe we can balance this budget without increasing taxes. We think with some sharp penciling we ought to be able to get there and create a budget that makes good for the state and certainly doesn't negatively impact our citizens.

Small: Senator Cogdill says Republicans will be ready to present their budget plan within the next couple of days.