Holiday Means No Lawmakers Working on Budget

Lincoln's birthday keeps "Big 5" from meeting

Tuesday, Feb 10, 2009  |  Updated 4:13 PM PDT
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Holiday Means No Lawmakers Working on Budget

Getty Images/Steve Bronstein

The goal of the furlough is to save $1.3 billion dollars -- money the state doesn't have because of the lack of a budget.

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The State of California has started a new week and still does not have a budget.

While the State Senate and Assembly were not working Monday, the construction industry was about to lose another 70,000 jobs because of California's budget crisis.

Ninety-eight infrastructure projects around the state will soon come grinding to a halt because of California's inability to sell bonds already approved by the public for transportation funds under Prop 1B.

The executive director for the Alliance for California Jobs said the development will have a negative impact on state workers.

Legislative leaders, after meeting several times over the weekend, planned to resume talks Tuesday on how to close the state's $42 billion budget deficit.

The shortfall, projected through June 2010, has forced California to delay tax refunds and shut down most state offices on alternating Fridays.

The "Big 5," which is made up of Gov. Arnold Shwarzenegger and the leaders of both parties in the State Assembly and Senate, planned not to meet on Monday because it is Lincoln's birthday.

Schwarzenegger and legislative leaders from both parties met for about two hours Sunday before the governor left for Idaho to attend the winter games of the Special Olympics.
    
The Senate leader, Democrat Darrell Steinberg of Sacramento, has said he hopes for a vote this week even though Republicans have yet to agree to tax increases.

This Friday -- the 13th -- will mark the 100th day since Schwarzenegger called lawmakers into special session to address the fiscal crisis.

The latest developments occurred even as documents surfaced showing several lawmakers have taken lavish trips, even as the legislature began holding emergency budget sessions.

Campaign records show several lawmakers checked into the Fairmont Hotel I Maui two days after the emergency sessions started.

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