BUDGET DAY PLUS 58 -- In hopes of ending a budget stalemate that's so far looked to be one for the record books, the state Senate tomorrow will vote on a budget plan that hinges on the chances of a few Republicans breaking with their party leadership and voting aye.
The overview budget document distributed this afternoon by Senate President pro Tem Don Perata's office is a modfied form of Governor Schwarzeneggrer's "August Revise" proposal.
Most notably, Senate Democrats are accepting Schwarzenegger's temporary sales tax increase, but rejecting his call to then lower the current state sales tax. The plan also calls for slightly more state spending than the governor has proposed.
And in what could be considered a major concession, it keeps intact Schwarzenegger's call for a larger rainy day fund for state government as well as Schwarzenegger's demand for new gubernatorial power to unilaterally cut spending if the budget gets out of whack in the middle of the year.
The intrigue, of course, is whether at least two GOP senators will break ranks and vote for the proposal. A written statement from Senate GOP Leader Dave Cogdill makes it clear the proposal is not going to get his vote.
Of course, approval in the Senate would only mean that the budget plan then lands in the lap of the Assembly, where its tax increase proposal would need at least six GOP votes... a much tougher task.
Still, tomorrow's vote does symbolize some movement on the budget front... even if only to force an actual floor debate on budget priorities of the two sides.