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Calif. lawmakers: no budget, no pay

June 3, 2011 at 7:46 PM

SACRAMENTO, June 3 (UPI) -- California will start docking legislator's salaries in two weeks if a balanced budget isn't reached, the state controller said.

Controller John Chiang said Thursday a November state ballot measure mandates he withhold pay for lawmakers unless they approve a balanced spending plan by June 15 as outlined by the California Constitution.

State Senate lawyers see it differently, citing a March budget bill -- leaving California with an approximate $11 billion shortfall -- that they say meets conditions for them to receive their pay. But, as the Los Angeles Times reported Friday, Chiang holds the checkbook.

"In passing Proposition 25 last November, voters clearly stated they expect their representatives to make the difficult decisions needed to resolve any budget shortfalls by the mandatory deadline, or be penalized," Chiang said in a statement. "I will enforce the voters' demand."

Gov. Jerry Brown agreed with Chiang, saying it would pressure the Legislature to move forward in budget negotiations.

"Of course they shouldn't get paid" if the budget is not on time, Brown said at a National Guard ceremony in Sacramento.

"Maybe we'll get our budget," he said. "That's the purpose" of the measure.

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