State heads toward new fiscal year without new budget – again
SACRAMENTO (AP) – California rings in a new fiscal year Sunday, but it will mark the occasion without a new state budget.
Democratic leaders failed at a third attempt early Sunday morning to persuade Assembly Republicans to supply the pivotal votes for an approximately $101 billion spending plan. The Assembly voted against the spending plan 50-27.
The Assembly, which is not expected to meet again Sunday, also rejected the budget bill in votes on Wednesday and Friday.
The Senate, which failed to pass the budget on Tuesday, gave no indication that it planned to meet again before Monday.
Democrats need the votes of at least four Republicans in the Assembly and one in the Senate to muster the two-thirds majorities needed to send the budget bill to Gov. Gray Davis.
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 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 more than $50 million in agriculture-friendly tax breaks, but the GOP said it wasn’t a fair deal.
But Assembly Speaker Robert Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys, said Saturday that Republicans haven’t made any move toward a compromise.
”There’s been nothing, no counteroffers, no dialogue, no discussion on their part,” he said in an interview.
Starting a new fiscal year without a budget has become almost routine for the nation’s most populous state because of the two-thirds vote requirement in its constitution.
Lawmakers managed to adopt a new budget just before the start of the new fiscal year in 2000 and 1999 but in 1998 then-Gov. Pete Wilson didn’t sign the budget bill until Aug. 22, almost two months into the new fiscal year.
Even without a budget the state is able to make most of its payments.
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