Breaking News: Budget Passes – Maldonado Casts Deciding Vote

imageCalifornia

After an all night session – 45 hours for the entire session – the State Senate voted early this morning 27 to 12 to approve a massive state budget that includes spending cuts, tax increases, and borrowing money to close to $40 billion deficit. California has been at a standstill for the last five days as legislators grappled over a state budget. Governor Schwarzenegger and legislative leaders struck a deal with Senator Maldonado in exchange for providing the third needed vote to pass the state budget. The three Republican votes for the state budget came from Senator Abel Maldonado (R-Santa Maria), Senator Dave Cogdill (R-Modesto), and Senator Roy Ashburn (R-Bakersfield). Senator Maldonado agreed to give his much needed third vote by negotiating three major concessions. One concession in particular may benefit Maldonado if he runs for higher office. As part of Senator Maldonado’s negotiated deal legislators have agreed to place an open primary on the June 2010 ballot. The proposal would have an effect on congressional and state races in 2012 and beyond possibly helping Republicans win some seats that were lost during the last election cycle. Under the open primary plan proposed the top two candidates in an open primary election would face off in the general election. Candidates would not participate in partisan primaries, but would be able to maintain their party identity on the ballot.

Senator Maldonado will be termed out of the state Senate in 2012. It is rumored that he is strongly considering a run for the position of state controller in 2010 and used this opportunity to gain leverage that could benefit him in his bid for the position. Sources close to him say that he has not yet decided if he will in fact run for state controller.

Some legislators strongly objected to the open primary bill but voted for it anyway because they believe it is more important to avoid a cash crisis and ward off the planned shutdown today of hundreds of construction projects valued at over $5 billion.

The second concession that legislative Leaders agreed to eliminates the additional 12-cent gas tax, which was estimated to have brought in $2.1 billion through June 2010. As part of the changes, a five percent surtax on income taxes will be replaced by a 0.25 percent increase in each income-tax bracket. The new formula would raise approximately $400 million more in income taxes than the previous proposal. The remainder of the lost gas-tax revenues will be replaced by federal stimulus money and $600 to $700 million in line-item vetoes from the Governor.

The third concession by Senator Maldonado was a constitutional amendment to exclude legislative raises in deficit years. This constitutional amendment will appear on the May 19 special election ballot. Maldonado attempted to eliminate legislative pay altogether when the budget is late; however, legislators believed the idea to be unconstitutional.

Many Democrats and political observers fear that Maldonado strong-arming the legislature may set a bad precedent for future attempts at getting a budget on time.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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42 Comments

  1. No New Taxes

    I'm sorry, but I'd wish we'd quit referring to tax increases as …compromises,… …concessions,… or my personal favorite: …biting the bullet….yes, it must feel so hard to soak people for more money. I'm sure the democrats just agonize over having to do that. I'ts just sooo hard to charge working people more and force them to pay for legislative blundering. I'm sure they feel so much pain, and its a decision they never come to lightly either.

  2. David M. Greenwald

    I'm sorry but I was there when Steinberg came out, I was there when Speaker Bass came out. No one was happy with that deal. If you don't realize it, then you're just not very knowledgeable. No one wanted to raise taxes.I have yet to see you or anyone else come up with an actual balanced budget without raising taxes. The Republicans tried in December they only got half way there.>>>

  3. My View

    I like no legislative salary increase in a deficit year, but the rest that Moldanado (spelling?)held out for is self-serving – and I am a registered Republican. The problem here is that there is a huge need to cut pork, but you cannot do that overnight. It takes years to sort it out, and the commitment to do it. I don't think we have any politicians intelligent enough to find the pork, or the will to cut it. And there is plenty of pork. Has anyone found that 4 part series on education in the Sac Bee about education boon doggles to LA and other large counties I mentioned?I'm glad they finally passed something, before we really got ourselves into a fix we could not get out of here in CA. But Muldanado (spelling?) better forget running for anything. He won't get the votes! I wouldn't vote for him. By the way, I have a high respect for Darryl Steinberg – he has done a lot of good work.

  4. Lexicon Artist

    …Under the open primary plan proposed the top two candidates in an open primary election would face off in the general election. Candidates would not participate in partisan primaries, but would be able to maintain their party identity on the ballot….I think there is some merit to this idea. I would like it more if it also included choice voting, so open primary voters could still vote for (say) the Libertarian or the Green, and not waste their vote. Without choice voting in an open primary, any vote for a minor party candidate really will be wasted (as it is now in a general election).A potential problem in an open primary — not likely, but one we sometimes see in elections in Davis — could arise when too many candidates (really too many Democrats) run in the primary. Assume, for example, 60 percent of the voters prefer Democrats (which is probably about right in most statewide races) and 40 percent prefer Republicans. If you have 2 name Republicans and 6 name Democrats enter the …open primary,… you might get an outcome like this:Rep1 – 24%Rep2 – 16%Dem1 – 12%Dem2 – 11%Dem3 – 10%Dem4 – 10%Dem5 – 09%Dem6 – 08%The …general election… in that scenario would pit the two Republicans, only because the GOP did not split its vote so much. (Choice voting avoids this pitfall.)

  5. Anonymous

    The problem is that the budget isn't balanced and the deficits continue. If Obama's stimulation efforts don't work, California's budget will be just as bad in a few months. What does the legislature plan to do after the May revise?

  6. David M. Greenwald

    Steinberg said this morning that they would have to wait and see what happens between now and then and they may have to come back and cut even more at that point. He didn't seem to want to think about it, not that I blame him.

  7. Circling the Dollar

    So we are going to continue to spend our way to prosperity! The real disconnect here is that the responsibile tax-paying citizens of California will be …fleeced without a kiss… by this budget. However, you can be assured that the tax-consuming residents of California will benefit from the passage of this interlarded budget. And so it goes!

  8. Anonymous

    …However, you can be assured that the tax-consuming residents of California will benefit from the passage of this interlarded budget. And so it goes!…I long for the good old days of outhouses, before sewage systems and indoor plumbing. All those pork infrastructure projects (highways, education, corrections, etc.) are a real bummer.

  9. Anonymous

    David, you think that we do not need spending cuts? I will give you some numbers to ponder from the L.A. Times regarding illegals.L.A. County's population is 10.2 million people.40% of all workers work for cash not paying taxes. Predominantly Illegals95% of warrants for murder are illegals75% of people on the most wanted list in LA are illegalsOver 2/3 of all births are to illegals on Medi-Cal, paid for by taxpayers35% of all inmates in California are illegals60% of all HUD occupants are illegalsLess than 2% of the illegals are picking crops and 29% are on Welfare.29% of Federal Prison inmates are illegals.This is straight from the liberal LA Times.People that argue that illegals are not hurting our economy need to have their head examined

  10. Diogenes

    The open primary system will benefit California in many ways, not the least of which will be that a more set of politicians will be elected to state offices, and will result in a legislature that can work together to put California back on track to being a place where businesses and people want to be. An open primary system may also help Maldonado get elected to a higher state office. Big Deal. If he gets elected, good for him – the people will have spoken. If not, we still need to thank him and the republicans that held out to get at least something good for the state out of this terrible crisis.

  11. No New Taxes

    What bothers me here is there is no safegaurds against future spending increases, and future taxes. People say that I cannot come up with a budget that balances the books without such things. Let's just assume that's true, that both parties have done their best to guard against tax increases and they feel horrible about it (which I'm not saying for one minute but lets assume DPD is right.)What about making sure their is not future spending increases? Every responsible legislative person needed to come out against the high speed rail and make it clear it could not be afforded. They should have done the responsible thing and admitted the deficit made such a project impossible.Furthermore, all of the education bonds that we had been passing should have been railed against. They should openly come out and warn the people that education bonds are expensive (I remember the ones that cost 30billion) and we cannot have this.Is the legislature doing this? Are they making sure to do what is necessary to prevent future pork? To make sure they live within our means?What bothers is in the middle of a crisis, these people …bite the bullet… and raise taxes, but then continue runaway spending increases as usual, and don't stand up and be counted to prevent future deficits until their is another crisis.The taxpayers should have safeguards and guarantees that $ is being well spent, not just …30billion bond for libraries, reducing class size… and other abstract-named programs that you will never be able to figure out how the $ was spent.I know I am going on a bit of a tangent, but I'm sorry, come november, we will be asked to vote on some bond to do some abstract thing and this runaway spending will continue. Then we'll go through this all over again. No one wants to stand up and be counted when it counts. Everyone just waits till the runaway spending creates a crisis, then say raise taxes and act like the decision didn't come lightly, then spend up the river and create the whole mess all over again.Obama is doing that now. He's spending more money on health care, education, and unemployment benefits, and calls it …stimulating the economy…. As if Obama's X-mas wish list has something to do with the mortgage meltdown?

  12. David M. Greenwald

    No new taxes, there is actually a spending cap that was passed but must be ratified with the budget.Here are the provisions of the spending cap:Limits spending to rolling 10-year trend in revenues, amounts above the 10-year trend would go into the

  13. Social investments

    …Every responsible legislative person needed to come out against the high speed rail and make it clear it could not be afforded. They should have done the responsible thing and admitted the deficit made such a project impossible.Furthermore, all of the education bonds that we had been passing should have been railed against. They should openly come out and warn the people that education bonds are expensive (I remember the ones that cost 30billion) and we cannot have this….I guess the will of the voters has spoken. This is what they want.

  14. Lexicon Artist

    The voters of California, who voted in favor of so many bond measures we cannot afford, deserve a lot of the blame for the fiscal problems of the state. That does not excuse the terrible lack of leadership and poor decisions of the governor, the corruption of Democratic legislators who are financed by public employees (especially teachers, fire, cops, prison guards, the skilled trades, bureaucrats, etc.) and have continually over-rewarded …public servants… and private contractors and private consultants with the taxpayers' money, and Republican legislators who have failed to offer better solutions and have stuck their heads in the sand pretending that they don't have to act responsibly. It was the voters, after all, who voted for Gov. Schwarzeneggar's completely idiotic $15 billion Prop 57 in 2004, which led us to where we are now, rather than dealing with an obvious and serious problem back then.It was the voters who approved $53 billion in other bonds prior to last June.It was the voters who said yes to $9.95 billion more in debt for high speed rail (1A), yes to $980 million for more hospital construction (3), and yes to $900 million more for veterans (12) just a few months ago, despite the fact that we cannot afford any of these. According to the LAO, in a few years our yearly debt service payments will top $10 billion! (IOW, a family of five must pay $1,316/year, just to service the debt for the state.)Voters can bitch and moan about paying more in taxes. But voters who approved the bonds we can't afford need to look in the mirror.

  15. Lexicon Artist

    All the more reason, David, why I don't favor having propositions at all, even though a few of them I have enthusiastically voted for.One that I supported a few years ago — Proposition 76: The California Live Within Our Means Act — would have undone some of the damage/problems of Prop 98, but 76 was overwhelmingly rejected by the voters. Alas, the CTA and every major Democratic group successfully fought against 76 and they convinced the voters. There is no doubt in my mind that if we had passed 76 (and rejected Arnold's Prop 57), the problems today would be far less severe.

  16. Anonymous

    …If you read the one of the sidebar comments in the Sacbee on 2/18 or 2/19, you will see a stat that says latinos, legal and illegal makeup 40% of the U.S. Federal Court cases in the U.S….It would be helpful if you cited links. ONe thing we've discovered is that most people's stats that have been posted on this subject are wrong or misatributed. The 40% numbers sounds ike the number that could have been US Federal Court cases in CALIFORNIA. But unless you post a link, we have no way to evaluate your claims.I'm certainly not prepared to accept any stats on this at face value without considerable demonstration.

  17. Anonymous

    To Anon et al re ILLEGAL ALIENS: If you read the one of the sidebar comments in the Sacbee on 2/18 or 2/19, you will see a stat that says latinos, legal and illegal makeup 40% of the U.S. Federal Court cases in the U.S. While the population of latinos represents a very small proportion of the U.S. population they comprise a huge portion of the criminal element. Anon on 2/19 was very close to being correct. The ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS, mainly from mexico, is one of the largest contributors to crime in Calif. and many states in this coutry. In Sacramento City and County alone, most of the felonious crimes, approx. 80%, are committed by gangbangers. The majority of gang members are the mexican norteno and sureno cockroaches, about 6 to 8 thousand of them in Sac alone. Yeah, you can check that stat out with the Law Enforcement agencies there. Get your heads out of your duffel bags and realize these lowlifes are a huge problem in this country. I do have a suggestion for cutailing the problems these putos cause, but the bleeding heart liberals on this blog would'nt approve.

  18. Lexicon Artist

    The voters of California, who voted in favor of so many bond measures we cannot afford, deserve a lot of the blame for the fiscal problems of the state. That does not excuse the terrible lack of leadership and poor decisions of the governor, the corruption of Democratic legislators who are financed by public employees (especially teachers, fire, cops, prison guards, the skilled trades, bureaucrats, etc.) and have continually over-rewarded …public servants… and private contractors and private consultants with the taxpayers’ money, and Republican legislators who have failed to offer better solutions and have stuck their heads in the sand pretending that they don’t have to act responsibly. It was the voters, after all, who voted for Gov. Schwarzeneggar’s completely idiotic $15 billion Prop 57 in 2004, which led us to where we are now, rather than dealing with an obvious and serious problem back then.It was the voters who approved $53 billion in other bonds prior to last June.It was the voters who said yes to $9.95 billion more in debt for high speed rail (1A), yes to $980 million for more hospital construction (3), and yes to $900 million more for veterans (12) just a few months ago, despite the fact that we cannot afford any of these. According to the LAO, in a few years our yearly debt service payments will top $10 billion! (IOW, a family of five must pay $1,316/year, just to service the debt for the state.)Voters can bitch and moan about paying more in taxes. But voters who approved the bonds we can’t afford need to look in the mirror.

  19. Lexicon Artist

    All the more reason, David, why I don’t favor having propositions at all, even though a few of them I have enthusiastically voted for.One that I supported a few years ago — Proposition 76: The California Live Within Our Means Act — would have undone some of the damage/problems of Prop 98, but 76 was overwhelmingly rejected by the voters. Alas, the CTA and every major Democratic group successfully fought against 76 and they convinced the voters. There is no doubt in my mind that if we had passed 76 (and rejected Arnold’s Prop 57), the problems today would be far less severe.

  20. Anonymous

    To Anon et al re ILLEGAL ALIENS: If you read the one of the sidebar comments in the Sacbee on 2/18 or 2/19, you will see a stat that says latinos, legal and illegal makeup 40% of the U.S. Federal Court cases in the U.S. While the population of latinos represents a very small proportion of the U.S. population they comprise a huge portion of the criminal element. Anon on 2/19 was very close to being correct. The ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS, mainly from mexico, is one of the largest contributors to crime in Calif. and many states in this coutry. In Sacramento City and County alone, most of the felonious crimes, approx. 80%, are committed by gangbangers. The majority of gang members are the mexican norteno and sureno cockroaches, about 6 to 8 thousand of them in Sac alone. Yeah, you can check that stat out with the Law Enforcement agencies there. Get your heads out of your duffel bags and realize these lowlifes are a huge problem in this country. I do have a suggestion for cutailing the problems these putos cause, but the bleeding heart liberals on this blog would’nt approve.

  21. Anonymous

    …If you read the one of the sidebar comments in the Sacbee on 2/18 or 2/19, you will see a stat that says latinos, legal and illegal makeup 40% of the U.S. Federal Court cases in the U.S….It would be helpful if you cited links. ONe thing we’ve discovered is that most people’s stats that have been posted on this subject are wrong or misatributed. The 40% numbers sounds ike the number that could have been US Federal Court cases in CALIFORNIA. But unless you post a link, we have no way to evaluate your claims.I’m certainly not prepared to accept any stats on this at face value without considerable demonstration.

  22. Sorry

    …If you have a Davis public library card, may I suggest you do a search on it through the Newsbank portal? After entering your library card, you have the option to focus immediately on Sac Bee articles.If you do find the specific date and title, please share.I myself tried to search for the article there, but without a specific year or a good set of key search words, the results were too overwhelming. If you could provide either (specific year, good set of key search words), I would be happy to follow up. They show articles going back to 1984, so I think your article should be there….I’ve wracked my brains to think of the year, but just cannot. Nor can I think of any specific word to help you with the search. …Education boondoggle… comes to mind, but I don’t know how helpful that would be. I know the articles appeared in the Sac Bee, and after 1987, when I first moved here. It could have been twenty years ago, or ten, just cannot remember. The only thing that really stuck in my mind was the part about LA County, and other large counties getting huge amounts of grants that were never tracked to see if they were being spent properly or if they were effective. Now I believe they were called …grants… – I wonder if that would help?Wish I had a better memory for this stuff, but just can’t seem to pull out anything more than that…

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