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Gov. Jerry Brown vetoes Democratic budget bill

June 16, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Less than a day after Democrats passed the state budget, on time, Governor Jerry Brown vetoed the plan. Brown defended his action Thursday while Democratic lawmakers vented their frustration.

Governor Brown caused a rift in his party by using his veto pen on the budget Democrats just sent him.

"I am vetoing today because I don't want to see more billions in borrowing, legal maneuvers that are questionable and a budget that will not stand the test of time," Brown said in an online video message after announcing the veto on his Twitter account.

Brown's veto is the first time in California history that a governor has rejected a state budget. It touched off a lot of anger in the Capitol among Democrats, who wondered why the governor didn't use his line-item veto power to eliminate the parts he didn't like.

The majority party rushed through a series of proposal Wednesday that erases the remaining $10-billion deficit in an effort to prevent their pay from being docked at midnight, when the state budget is considered late.

"I did so because it doesn't meet the needs of this state. It has legally questionable maneuvers. It adds to our wall of debt," said Brown Thursday.

Democratic leaders slammed back at Governor Brown. They say the state budget they sent him was the best they could do with the tools they had.

Without Republican votes for Brown's proposal to extend the temporary tax hikes to save vital services, they had to resort to more cuts and accounting gimmicks using new majority vote authority.

"Today's action is completely unnecessary. But the governor seems to be determined to pass his original 'Plan A,'" said state Assembly Speaker John Perez (D-Los Angeles).

But Republicans are happy with the governor's veto, just not happy they're being blamed after offering to go along with a special election on tax extensions if they got some significant government reforms.

"We always thought it was a sham budget. He didn't disappoint us by agreeing with us, but we did take a little exception with him saying Republicans stood in the way of letting the people decide," said state Senator Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar), the senate budget vice-chairman.

The veto probably means back to square one. Teachers and parents from Marquez Elementary in Pacific Palisades think starting from scratch is a good thing considering the Democratic budget fails to repay public schools $3 billion this year, money classrooms could have used after years of budget cuts.

"I hope they come out with a better deal. We have to do something," said Lynne Wilkinson, a Pacific Palisades teacher. "Education is the key to everything."

"Our schools are falling apart. They're old buildings, they're using old textbooks. I really, really hope he stands up for us," said Bill Sanders, a parent from Pacific Palisades.

Even though it has been vetoed, State Controller John Chiang is still reviewing the budget and will determine whether it's good enough to avoid lawmaker pay. Lawmakers say they did their jobs and deserve full pay.

Because of a new law just passed by California voters, if lawmakers had not come to an agreement by Thursday, they would stop getting paid until they do.

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