Calif. legislators may have to forfeit pay

June 21, 2011 at 5:17 PM
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SACRAMENTO, June 21 (UPI) -- California's controller said Tuesday state lawmakers must forfeit their pay because the budget they passed last week was not balanced.

Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed the budget less than 24 hours after it was passed June 15, with lawmakers meeting a constitutional deadline for only the second time in 25 years.

In a statement released by his office, Controller John Chiang said his analysis of the state budget shows the spending plan was incomplete and unbalanced. His analysis sought to determine whether the budget met the requirements of Proposition 25 and Proposition 58, which forfeit legislative pay if a balanced budget is not passed by June 15, the statement said.

"My office's careful review of the recently passed budget found components that were miscalculated, miscounted or unfinished," Chiang said. "The numbers simply did not add up, and the Legislature will forfeit (its) pay until a balanced budget is sent to the governor."

Proposition 25, titled the On-Time Budget Act of 2010, was approved by voters Nov. 2. The initiative lowered the vote requirement for passing a budget from two-thirds to a simple majority without lowering the two-thirds vote required for tax increases, Chiang's office said. It also forfeits legislators' pay and living expenses incurred from June 16 until "the day that the budget bill is presented to the governor."

The constitutional provision says "the Legislature may not send to the governor" an unbalanced budget.

The controller's analysis found the recently vetoed budget committed the state to $89.75 billion in spending, but only provided $87.9 billion in revenues, leaving an imbalance of $1.85 billion.

The Los Angeles Times said Chiang's decision is widely expected to provoke a lawsuit. Lawmakers had begun questioning his authority over pay even before his decision.

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