BUDGET DAY PLUS 57 -- If legislators are hoping that a raid on money from voter-approved programs is the fallback solution to the ongoing budget saga, they're not going to like the message Governor Schwarzenegger delivered today at an event in southern California.
"It is time to stop putting people through this budget roller coaster ride," he said this morning. "It is time for Sacramento to have the guts and the vision to solve this budget problem once and for all."
The governor's comments at a news conference with local government officials again confirms just how stuck budget talks are here in the state Capitol.
And with every day that now passes, the impact will become more obvious to ordinary folks.
Two significant state payments that were supposed to go out today have now been put on hold: more than $434 million owed to community colleges and more than $1.3 billion in monthly payments to K-12 education. Remember, only two budget impasses have lasted longer than this one... and the all-time record delay in legislative approval is now just four days away. And no one really knows the full effect of what happens by next week.
But the way around the big philosophical budget dispute -- a short-term borrowing of money reserved for various services -- seems to be losing steam.
On Monday, Assembly Speaker Karen Bass was asked about whether she and Assembly GOP Leader Mike Villines were discussing just such a borrowing plan. Bass deflected the point of the question, but reminded reporters that the only other options for closing the $15 billion gap -- more cuts or new taxes -- are essentially off the table.
Schwarzenegger made it clear days ago that he opposes a borrowing plan to break the impasse; today's event was probably designed to remind everyone of where he stands. And local officials in Los Angeles were only too happy to back that up.
"We want the Legislature to know that we are not going to tolerate another raid on local government funds," said LA County Supervisor Don Knabe. "We are watching. We won't tolerate it, we won't accept it."