When a state commission decided in April, to take lease cars away from state legislators, Santa Rosa Sen. Noreen Evans’ unhappy reaction upset many of her
constituents. And she may not make any friends with her reaction to state Controller John Chiang’s announcement that legislators won’t be paid if a balanced budget isn’t passed by the June 15 constitutional deadline.
“It puts us in a difficult position because it holds the sword of Damocles over legislators’ heads,” Evans told the Sacramento Bee. “It creates a perverse incentive to adopt a budget whether or not it is the best one for the people of California.”
Proposition 25, approved by voters in November, rescinded the two-thirds vote requirement for passing a state budget. Another provision said lawmakers won’t get paid, or collect their daily expense money, unless the budget is passed on time.
In March, the state Senate and Assembly passed a budget bill that cut state spending by $14 billion. But to balance the books, Gov. Jerry Brown has asked for a five-year extension of temporary taxes that otherwise expire June 30. So far, he hasn’t been able to get that approved. The Legislature’s attorney produced a legal opinion saying Prop. 25 didn’t say anything about passing a balanced budget, so legislators had complied and were eligible to be paid. But Chiang, whose office cuts the checks, says legislators won’t be paid.
A lot of legislators are probably thinking what Evans is saying. I wonder if any of them will drive – make that march – to the courthouse to sue.
– Jim Sweeney