California governor vetoes budget crafted by Democrats

08:45, June 17, 2011      

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California Governor Jerry Brown on Thursday vetoed a budget package crafted by Democratic legislators, a move that may create a potential rift within his own party.

California Democratic lawmakers on Wednesday passed a rare on- time state budget, said to be balanced with a blend of taxes, cuts and clever accounting. But Brown said the budget failed to offer a balanced solution.

"Unfortunately, the budget I have received is not a balanced solution," the Democratic governor said in a statement. "It continues big deficits for years to come and adds billions of dollars of new debt. It also contains legally questionable maneuvers, costly borrowing and unrealistic savings. Finally, it is not financeable and therefore will not allow us to meet our obligations as they occur."

Under threat of lost pay if a spending plan was not approved by Wednesday, the Democrats pushed through provisions to hike car registration fees and local sales tax rates and force online retailers, such as, to collect sales tax.

The plan would also cut more deeply into higher education, the courts and local law enforcement.

The budget would push off payment of 2.8 billion dollars owed to schools and community colleges until the following fiscal year, along with 540 million in University of California funds. A controversial sale of state buildings worth 1.2 billion dollars, abandoned months ago as not cost effective, would return in a slightly different form.

The slim hope of 700 million dollars in Medi-Cal money to be handed over by the federal government was also etched into the plan.

The budget was the first that Democrats have approved without the minority party since voters last fall empowered them to do so, and they seemed to relish the opportunity.

But Democrats said the plan was crafted without input from the administration.

It is unclear whether state lawmakers will receive their paychecks in the wake of the veto. Under a law passed by voters last year, legislators lose pay if they fail to send the governor a budget by June 15.

Brown's veto is the latest twist in a budget process that has been just as divisive and partisan as it was under his Republican predecessor, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The governor has called for renewed taxes in a bid to avoid devastating cutbacks to schools and public safety, but he failed to sell his idea to Republicans.

Democrats said they hoped Brown would continue to negotiate with Republicans for the taxes he wants, to make some of their cutbacks unnecessary.

Republicans called the budge unbalanced, gimmick-ridden and poor policy. Republican Assemblyman Tim Donnelly ridiculed it as " the legislative paycheck protection program."

Source: Xinhua
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