"Voting near dawn to end a three-month impasse, the California Senate approved a deal that Democrats and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger
reached with a GOP holdout to resolve the state's fiscal emergency," report the LA Times's Capitol team.
The Assembly also just approved the plan.
"Under the arrangement, Sen. Abel Maldonado of Santa Maria provided the final Republican vote
needed to pass a spending plan with billions of dollars
in tax hikes. In exchange, Democrats agreed to rewrite
election rules that Maldonado said had allowed the
Capitol to become paralyzed by partisanship, leading
the state to the brink of financial ruin.
"The final plan incorporated most of the framework of
the original budget compromise from Democratic and
Republican leaders. It included billions of dollars
in cuts to schools, healthcare institutions, higher
education and programs for the poor. If signed by Schwarzenegger,
who helped devise the package, it also would raise
personal income taxes and the state sales tax, although
a 12-cent per-gallon increase in gasoline taxes was eliminated in
the final hours.
"Democrats initially said Maldonado's call for "open" primaries, in which voters could cross party lines
and candidates of all parties would compete in the
same primary, followed by a runoff of the top two vote-getters, was too substantial to be pushed through in
a budget deal. But Maldonado said the current budget
stalemate proved that California could not return to
fiscal sanity without fundamental changes in the way
it elects its representatives."
Maldonado invoked Ronald Reagan in a passionate speech,
recognized that it might mean "the end" for him and took aim at his party's new conservative leadership.
"When I took an oath to defend the state...I never thought
I'd have to defend it against my party."
Kevin Yamamura looks at who got what, with Maldonado as the big winner.
The Bee's Kevin Yamamura and Aurelio Rojas report:
"The Senate resumed session around 3:40 a.m. and initially hit a snag as four Democrats refused to vote
for Maldonado's proposal to have an open primary system in California elections. Intended to reduce party
influence in elections, the open primary system would
have the top two candidates in a primary face off in
the subsequent general election.
"But the Senate ultimately passed out that plan. Several
members strongly objected to the open primary bill
but voted for it anyway because they said it was even
more important to avoid a cash crisis and avert the
planned shutdown today of 374 construction projects valued at $5.58 billion in the absence of a budget.
"'This is not good government, this is not political
reform, this is old-fashioned special interest,' said Sen. Gloria Romero
, as she reversed her initial 'no' vote to 'aye,' helping the open primary bill pass."
The election for open primary, lottery, spending cap,
legislative pay, Proposition 10 and Proposition 63 changes will be May 19.
Political consultants...start your engines!
By the way, we have advertising space available...
Capitol Weekly takes a look at the new microblogging phenomenon that grew up around
the state budget stalemate.
"Sometime during the Senate lockdown Saturday, KQED
Capitol reporter and blogger John Myers signed up for
Twitter. From the back of the Senate chambers, Myers
began posting details of the budget wrangling as most
people were enjoying the beginning of their holiday
What followed in the hours of the budget stalemate
was a true new-media phenomenon. Word of Myers’ Twitter feed spread
virally among those hungry for
the latest scraps of information about the budget standoff.
And within hours, Myers’ Twitter site was the most authoritative and
most sought-after source of real-time, insider budget information.
"'The back and forth nature of these marathon sessions
seemed to be a good fit for the short, headline-like nature of Twitter,' Myers said.
'Apparently, it caught on.
We’ve gotten more than 150 emails of folks who are enjoying the postings.'
"Capitol Weekly also got into the act, starting a Twitter
feed of its own to document the goings-on in the Capitol."
"Myers says his Twittering future is in question.
"'I don’t think I will be a full time Twitter reporter once
this impasse is resolved,' said Myers.
'It’s a great tool for certain kinds of journalistic coverage
-- budget debates, political conventions, election nights,
maybe even campaign coverage.
But let’s face it; I’m not about to Twitter on how Proposition 98 works.'"
Now that the budget appears to be wrapping up, Capitol
Weekly looks ahead to the Republican convention in Sacramento
"The political shock waves from the budget stand-off, still ongoing as of this writing, are being felt
throughout Republican California. And as the party
faithful prepare to gather in Sacramento this weekend,
some are out for blood.
"'There are moves afoot to try to censure members who
support the tax increase,' DeVore said. But perhaps surprisingly, DeVore does
not think censure is a good idea.
"'I don’t think it’s appropriate for the convention,' he said. 'This is
a political dispute. It’s not like there’s any moral shortcoming' among
supporters of the budget deal.
"But that hasn’t stopped some from launching fledgling recall efforts
against would-be supporters of the budget deal. DeVore said there
has been talk among a conservative group called the
Atlas PAC about bankrolling potential recall campaigns
against Republican lawmakers.
"Atlas PAC’s chairman, Lee
Lowrey, said recall efforts were ready to go. And his
group has Anthony Adams in its sites.
"'We’ll be the leaders on that,' he said of a potential Adams recall. 'He’s a brand-new Assemblyman, and as far as we’re concerned he’s going
to be gone.'
Malcolm Maclachlan looks at how the budget will impact counties. "Data from the Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) suggests that cuts could likely hit many Republican
areas hardest—while the tax burden is already falling more heavily
on Democratic leaning counties.
"According to the data distributed by Assembly Budget
Committee chairwoman Noreen Evans, D-Santa Rosa, the majority of the counties using the
most in state services are generally represented by
Republicans. When this data on 2007-2008 state spending is compared to registration data from
the Secretary of State’s office, it shows that seven out of the top 10 counties receiving state expenditures, measured per
capita, have Republican registration majorities. Of
the top 10 counties that contributed the most per capita tax
dollars in 2006, eight have Democratic registration majorities."
John Howard takes a look at how the federal stimulus package will impact Medi-Cal. "California’s Medi-Cal program, a state-federal system that provides
health care to 6.7 million people, is expected to receive at least $10
billion – more than a fourth of its entire budget – as part of federal
legislation intended to boost public
health care funding.
"For the strapped state struggling to cover an unprecedented
budget deficit, the money comes at a crucial time.
"However, to obtain the funds, which by one estimate
could be as high as $11.23 billion, the state will have to reverse restrictions
on eligibility that it imposed last year."
Finally, more good news out of Sacramento.
"Sacramento police announced this afternoon that Lance Armstrong's stolen time-trial bicycle valued at $10,000 has been recovered -- and Armstrong thanked the police department for its
help minutes after finishing the Clovis leg of the
Amgen Tour of California.
"A local resident brought the bike into Sacramento Police
headquarters on Freeport Boulevard at about 10:35 a.m. Wednesday, police said in a news release.
"'Detectives confirmed that the bike was in fact Armstrong's stolen bicycle,' the statement said.
"The bike is quite distinctive, described by the seven
time Tour de France champion as one of a kind.
"Police said the person with the bike wanted to remain
"'Right now we're treating him as a person who did the right thing
and turned it in,' said Sgt. Norm Leong."
Just like Abel Maldonado...who also might have preferred to remain anonymous.