Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said Wednesday there's no reason to call a special legislative session on California's budget impasse and claimed that meetings with the so-called Big 5 aren't always the most productive way to work toward a budget solution.
Today is the official the break from the summer legislative session. There is a hearing scheduled for Wednesday afternoon, but it appears everyone will be allowed to go home for Labor Day weekend even through the state is losing millions of dollars a day because of the budget impasse.
California is two months into its 2010-11 fiscal year and still has no budget. Payments to schools and counties are being deferred, while some health clinics that serve Medi-Cal patients are struggling to pay their bills.
The Republican governor spoke to reporters after lawmakers failed to reach a budget agreement during a marathon session Tuesday. As expected, the budget proposals were defeated in each house after hours of debate and repeated roll calls. The final votes came after midnight in the Senate. Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, said following the vote that the budget impasse could extend until the November election.
The vote news did not come as a surprise to Schwarzenegger. He said during an appearance in San Francisco yesterday that he did not think the budget vote would pass. He dismissed it as "kabuki" theater.
Schwarzenegger blamed legislators for the delays, saying he always submits his budgets on time. "They always start negotiating too late," he said Tuesday.
Right now, parties at the state Capitol are at odds over the fix: Democrats want a combination of spending cuts and tax increases, while Republicans want only cuts.
The governor said there should be no new taxes to help fill the California's $19 billion budget deficit. But Schwarzenegger said he doesn't want just spending cuts; he also wants fund shifts and federal funds to help solve the deficit.
He said it's time for Sacramento to "stop the insanity" and "live within its means."
Schwarzenegger also defended an upcoming trade mission to Asia despite the lack of a state budget.