UPDATE: Democrats Cannibalize Each Other — Chiang Halts Pay to Legislators over Phony Budget

EDITOR’S NOTE: Legislative reaction was fierce to Controller John Chiang’s decision to cut off their $400 per day pay as captured by the Sacramento Bee. Herer’s what my representative, the head of the budget committee, had to say: Assemblyman Bob Blumenfield, D-Woodland Hills:

“The Controller is acting without clear legal authority. He has
confused having the responsibility to cut checks with having the
authority to be a judge and jury on the budget. He signs our paychecks
but Proposition 25 does not make him our boss – that role is reserved
for the people who elected us. … If his action stands, it will have
grave implications on future budgets. His action suggests that we are
not a co-equal, independent branch of government vested with the
constitutional authority to craft the budget. And, that’s not what the
people voted for when they passed Proposition 25.”

Sacramento Bee reports:

Controller John Chiang announced today he has blocked pay for lawmakers, rejecting his own party’s spending plan as insufficient to satisfy a voter-approved law on timely budgets.

In doing so, the Democratic controller exercised unprecedented
authority, establishing a new role for his office under Propositions 25
and 58 to determine whether a legislative budget is “balanced.”

“My office’s careful review of the recently-passed budget found
components that were miscalculated, miscounted or unfinished,” Chiang
said in a statement. “The numbers simply did not add up, and the
Legislature will forfeit their pay until a balanced budget is sent to
the Governor.”

The controller said he determined that the Democratic budget spent
$89.75 billion but only provided $87.9 billion in revenues, leaving a
$1.85 billion imbalance.

Assembly Speaker John A. Perez said in a statement that he believes the controller “was wrong.”

“The Controller is, in effect, allowing Legislative Republicans to
control the budget process and I believe that’s a very unfortunate
outcome that is inconsistent with the intent of Proposition 25,” said
Pérez, D-Los Angeles. “In the coming days, we will be taking additional
budget action informed by the Controller’s analysis, and consistent with
the values of the budget we passed last week.”

Chiang has determined that the majority-vote plan Democrats sent to Gov. Jerry Brown
last week was not a “balanced” budget and therefore did not meet
lawmakers’ constitutional obligation for timely passage of a spending
plan. Brown immediately vetoed the budget Thursday, less than 16 hours
after passage, dubbing it “not a balanced solution” and noting that it
relied on legally questionable solutions.

In his determination, the controller highlighted one component of the
budget that he believes ran afoul of the state’s Proposition 98 minimum
guarantee for school funding. The Democrats’ budget underfunded K-12
schools and community colleges by $1.3 billion, Chiang said. John Mockler,
an education consultant who wrote Proposition 98, said in an interview
last week the Legislature would have to provide that money if courts
intervene or at some future date if revenues come in as projected.

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