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Budget: Gov. reprimands holdout Repubs

February 18, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
California lawmakers are stuck, still one vote away from passing a state budget. The governor has stern words for Republicans who refuse to budge on taxes.Senator Barbara Boxer warns Sacramento lawmakers that failure to pass a budget could cost the state billions of dollars in economic-stimulus funds.

Her warning comes after Republican state senators oust their leader and hold a hard line against proposed tax increases.

"I will not open up negotiations on this budget," said Governor Schwarzenegger.

Governor Schwarzenegger came out swinging against members of his own party. The compromise he and legislative leaders hammered out last Friday is the budget he wants passed, and it must include $14 billion in new taxes.

"If you think you can do this budget without any increases in revenues, then you have a big math problem, because you can't erase a $42-billion deficit without revenue increases," said Gov. Schwarzenegger.

The governor's gloves came off just hours after Republicans in the upper house ousted their leader, state Senator Dave Cogdill, an anti-tax conservative who helped negotiate the bipartisan agreement.

"I don't believe it's possible to balance this budget without some revenue increases," said st. Senator Cogdill (R-Fresno). "Again, that's a hard thing to say, and it was a hard decision to reach."

In Cogdill's place is an even more anti-tax conservative, state Senator Dennis Hollingsworth (R-Murrieta), who says he's fighting for average families.

Despite California facing insolvency, he wants negotiations re-opened and a proposal with deeper budget cuts.

"It really shouldn't be that we go back to the people and say you've got to pay for the mess we've created by raising their taxes," said new minority leader st. Sen. Hollingsworth. "Fourteen-hundred dollars per family in these economic times, people can't afford that."

With the senate still one Republican vote short, arm-twisting remains focused on two possible swing votes: Abe Maldonado and Dave Cox.

Senators cannot leave the building during lockdown, and the proposal will continue to put the budget compromise up for a vote every hour until someone caves.

"One more -- One more to put California and the people of California ahead of ideology and partisanship," said st. Sen. Darrell Steniberg (D-Senate president). "We are not starting over."

U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer is trying to sway votes by warning the state stands to lose billions in federal stimulus money.

"There's no question in my mind that California is going to be disadvantaged enormously if they don't have a budget," said Senator Boxer.


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