From several sources, there are indications that a deal may be cut as early as this afternoon on a state budget for California.
The Assembly went into session at 9 this morning, legislative time, and worked on a number of bills in the file. A Republican motion to suspend the rules and to take up immediately the conference committee passed version of the budget, a non debatable motion, was swatted down on a 30 to 42 party line vote. But that is not where the action is going to be. Assembly Democrats and Republicans were out of view in closed door caucuses for the lunch hour starting shortly after noon.
The reports are sketchy, but it appears the Assembly might be the first to take action, with rumors of a Senate vote tomorrow.
I’ve been told of meetings with Republican legislators whose votes are key to passage of any deal and the Governor.
Expectations are that there will be a temporary sales tax, some kind of spending cap perhaps like the one recommended by the Legislative Analyst’s Office, and that local governments will take a hit, possibly those permitted under Proposition 1A that allows local property taxes to be borrowed and requires repayment within two years.
Since at least some of these actions require a ballot item on the November ballot, the calendar requires action this week. This Saturday, August 16, is the drop dead date that Secretary of State Debra Bowen has written the legislature that ballot measures need to passed, even with a legislative passed exemption from deadlines that are in current law. The time is needed in order to print ballots and a supplemental pamphlet in time to get these to the voters.
Indeed, time is also running out on Prop 1, the high speed rail bond, and efforts to amend and strengthen it. There may be a deal which would place a separate measure, Prop 1A on the ballot that has these changes.
Another separate source reports that AB 3034 by Assemblymember Galgiani on the high speed rail bond on November’s ballot will probably be voted on this afternoon. That may indicate action is finally taking place on the budget.
Sources advise that budget passage will be easier in the Senate where only two Republican Senator’s votes are needed to obtain the two-thirds required and expectations are that Republican Senator Abel Maldanado and another Republican Senator are already on board.
In the Assembly, if Democrat Nell Soto, who has health problems is able to vote, 6 Republicans will be needed to pass the budget. Her office door is locked and there is no indication that she will be present for a vote and assumptions are that 7 Republican Assemblymembers will be needed to pass the budget. Those knowledgeable say that termed out Republican legislators are the ones to watch on any Assembly action to provide votes for the budget.
The Assembly has just resumed session and is working on bills in chronological order. We will watch and report on any action or more definitive news, as we, along with many Californians, read the tea leaves. Speaker pro tem Sally Lieber is presiding over the Assembly.