Assembly Democratic Leadership Taking No Chances on Budget Vote

Although a vote has yet to occur on a package of bills aimed at balancing the budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1, Assembly Speaker Karen Bass is taking no chances members of her caucus will be off-message.

Each Assembly Democrat received an e-mail June 23 which had the following Budget Talking Points attached:


  • The budget is balanced with a healthy $4 billion reserve. It is the responsible approach that helps us avoid the cash crisis. 
  • We accept all of the Governor’s realistic proposals—45% of his proposals completely 93% at least part.  
  • We protect the safety net and the real California families who depend on it. 
  • We prevent additional punitive cuts to education. (Editor’s Note: But reduce state support for public schools by $4.9 billion over two years.)
  • We protect middle class families depending on CalGrants for college in two months. 
  • We protect local governments who are facing their own tough times because of the recession. 
  • There is shared pain all around. And, yes, we ask oil companies and voluntary users of tobacco products to share a little in that sacrifice. 
  • New taxes are only $2 billion out of our $24 billion in solutions. 
  • Even with the taxes passed in February, revenue increases are nowhere near the $40 million in cuts to services that will have been made since 2003.  
  • The May 19 election wasn’t an anti-tax statement.  Independent pollsters tell us it was a “governor and legislators do your job” statement.  With these solutions we have the chance to do that job — and members on both sides need to step up to the plate.  
  • This is not a drill. This is the deficit fix.  This is the responsible solution vetted in public with hundreds of hours of public testimony.  The Conference Committee report has been available for review for a week. 
  • We don’t have time for politics as usual. We face a potential cash crisis that will have the Controller issuing IOUs July 1 if we don’t act.  
  • We are at a crossroads in defining what kind of a state California wants to be.  
  • These solutions are painful but responsible choices. They leave us with a safety net for the most vulnerable, it leaves us with opportunity for our students, and it leaves us room to get back on track. 


6/23/09 1:00 pm

Remaining unconvinced however is Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger who said through Matt David, his communications director, the following: 

“By continuing to debate a proposal that avoids hard choices, kicks the can down the alley, and fails to force Sacramento to live within its means, all Legislators are doing is wasting time running yet another drill for show. This is exactly why Californians have lost faith in Sacramento’s ability to solve problems. The drills must stop. The Legislature must immediately address our entire $24 billion deficit — anything less is irresponsible.” 

Also included among the attachments sent to Democratic Assembly members, lest their fortitude falter, are quotes culled from editorials appearing in various California publications in praise of the Democrats’ proposal:

Selected Editorial Quotes

on Budget Solutions 


SF Chronicle 6/19/09 

“The tax proposals must be considered in context: The Democrats are proposing cutting $5.50 from the budget for every $1 they are suggesting in new taxes.” 

“The Democrats’ $11 billion cuts did not spare even their most cherished programs: education, health and welfare.” 

“As for Republican legislators, they will get their chance next week to show their commitment to lean government when the $11 billion in cuts come up for a vote.” 

L.A. Times 6/21/09 

“….for the most part it’s a responsible proposal that cuts deeply while preserving human-service programs and closing most of the state’s $24-billion gap.” 

“Republican lawmakers too are bent on cutting employee pay and are depicting the showdown as Big Labor versus the taxpayer.” 

“A pay cut doesn’t weaken union influence, it simply scores points with conservatives and business donors.” 

A tax on oil producers or, in a different part of the Democrats’ plan, smokers, is hardly an assault on taxpayers. Nonsmokers would remain unaffected by one, and all taxpayers would be only marginally affected by the other….” 

San Jose Mercury News  6/11/09 

“Legislators are pushing back, as they should, on Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s plan to slash Cal Grants and eventually end the state’s primary source of college aid for needy students.”

“The state shouldn’t send this devastating message to families: California doesn’t care. You’re on your own.” 

Sacramento Bee 6/15/09 

“Closed parks will go feral – expect graffiti, fires, illegal camping, dumping and crime.” 

California should not be so entirely void of vision that state parks become playgrounds only for those who can pay large fees – or closed off to the entire public.” 

Los Angeles Times 6/6/09 

“….some of the cheap budget tricks on the table in Sacramento are so outrageous and unnecessary that they should be rejected without further ado. A case in point: Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s attempt to subvert the public process and allow the first new oil drilling project off the coast of California in 40 years.” 

“If the governor really wants more oil money, there’s a better way: He could resurrect a plan he introduced last year calling for a 9.9% tax on crude oil extracted in the state. California is the only state in the union that doesn’t collect such an extraction tax, and Schwarzenegger estimated in November that it would bring in roughly $1.2 billion in the next fiscal year — dwarfing the $100 million that would be generated by the Plains Exploration project.” 

Ventura County Star 6/3/09

“The governor has to make cuts. However, he must draw the line when it comes to completely dismantling California’s safety net for the weakest, youngest, oldest and sickest. Does anyone really want to live in the only state in the United States with no welfare program, as the governor proposes? Those who would say yes need to look past ideology to reality because that reality is about to hit them right between the eyes.”

“…we can forcefully tell our legislators they still have choices: Increase revenues, boost efficiency and cut spending. Just try not to kill too many people in the process.”  

 6/23/09 1:00 p.m.



Filed under: Budget and Economy


  1. I got idea.
    Cut the fat from the hill. The cut should start at top and end bottom.

    Comment by Mike — 6.24.2009 @ 8:31 am

  2. What budget vote? Why do today that you can put off until tomorrow?

    Comment by Robert LeRoy Parker — 6.24.2009 @ 2:12 pm

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