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April showers bring no flowers for Governor of California

Updated on May 14, 2012

California government budget out of control

The “On-Time Budget Act of 2010” required the Legislature to submit a balanced budget by June 15 each year or have their pay stopped. State Controller John Chiang tried to enforce the law by docking pay of all legislators, because the Legislature apparently failed to meet the requirements for submitting a balanced budget to the Governor in 2011. On April 25, 2012, a Sacramento Superior Court judge ruled on a complaint filed by the legislature’s Democratic leadership that the Controller did not have the authority to enforce the law. Mr. Chiang declared that the ruling “guts the no-budget no pay provisions that Californians placed into the Constitution. It gives lawmakers the sole authority to determine if they’ve done their job and deserve their pay. It is an affront to our basic governing principle of checks and balances.”

On May 12, 2012, the day before Mother's Day, Governor Jerry Brown published a You Tube video announcing the state budget deficit will be $16 billion, which is $7 billion more than the deficit in the budget proposal he submitted in January. This includes billions in deficits in the current year, as well as projected additional billions in the 2012-13 budget. Looking forward to the June 15 deadline for submission of a balanced budget, who will accept the word of the Legislature that the budget is balanced? Most importantly, who will enforce the law to withhold legislators’ pay if they do not submit a balanced budget? To paraphrase an observation of Mr. Chiang, lawmakers will likely continue to get their checks and there will be no balance.


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