Budget impasse persists; Democrat leaves for Spain
SACRAMENTO (AP) – California enters the third day of the new fiscal year Tuesday without a state budget, while Democrats are faced with rounding up an additional Republican vote because a lawmaker left for a trip abroad.
Democratic Assemblyman Lou Papan of Millbrae left Sunday morning for a 10-day vacation to Spain. Now, Assembly Democrats must find five GOP votes instead of four to approve a 2001-02 budget by the required two-thirds margin.
Papan voted for the estimated $101 billion budget three times last week. Each time, Republicans held out over a quarter-cent sales tax issue and the budget failed to gather enough votes in the Assembly.
The Senate also failed to approve the budget early last week and hasn’t voted on it since.
Neither chamber took up the budget Monday, and the Senate adjourned until Thursday.
Assembly Speaker Robert Hertzberg of Van Nuys ordered members to stay within three hours travel time from Sacramento, but no sessions were scheduled until Thursday.
Papan, whose district includes south San Francisco, Daly City and Millbrae, is not eligible for re-election next year because of term limits.
Papan’s office issued a statement Monday that said he scheduled the trip ”several months ago,” anticipating the Legislature would meet the June 15 constitutional deadline to approve a state budget.
A six-member panel of lawmakers negotiating a budget plan did not send a budget to the full legislature until June 22. The June 15 deadline is rarely met and holds no penalties.
The next missed deadline was Sunday, the day the budget was to take effect. Previous court rulings prevent the state from shutting down if a budget isn’t adopted by July 1.
Meanwhile, budget negotiations continued Monday among party leaders, but little progress was made.
As a condition for voting for the budget, Republicans are insisting that the Legislature agree to extend a quarter-cent sales tax cut that is scheduled to expire Jan. 1 because of a sagging economy and lower state budget reserves.
Allowing the cut to expire would give the state an additional $600 million in the new fiscal year.
Democratic leaders tried to pick up Republican support for the budget Friday by offering an array of agriculture-friendly and other targeted tax breaks. But GOP lawmakers say they won’t budge on a spending plan that includes a tax increase.
On the Net:
See budget information at http://www.lao.ca.gov
Papan’s Web site at http://democrats.assembly.ca.gov/members/a19/
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