Brown Budget Veto
Jerry Brown vetoed the budget that was sent to him by his own party, saying it “continues big deficits… and adds billions of dollars of new debt. It also contains legally questionable maneuvers, costly borrowing and unrealistic savings. Finally, it is not financeable and (will) not allow us to meet our obligations as they occur.”
- Video of Brown’s veto message
- Audio and edited transcript of Brown’s afternoon press conference
- Remarks by Dem leaders criticizing Brown
- Controller John Chiang on whether legislators met requirements under Prop 25 to keep getting paid
- Republican response
- Running commentary on the day’s events by KQED’s John Myers
Some of what he said:
“Democrats made tough cuts to public schools, welfare, medical. They “held their nose and made cuts.”
“Many Republicans said “we’re not voting on this, this is your problem but we don’t need to vote.’ Well they do need to vote.”
“We need four Republican votes. I’m going to do everything I can. I’ll move heaven and earth to get those votes. Because we really need a solution not for six months, but a solution for the next several years. And that’s what my balanced budget solution really offered. So there’s where we are, and going forward I think we can get it done. it may not be perfect, but I know we can do better than what was presented to me this morning.
“I think people have a very hard time cutting our public schools and rightfully so. And they have a hard time cutting our public universities and rightfully so. If a handful of Republicans will not vote to let the people exercise their sovereign right to say yes on tax extensions or no, then we’re in a much more difficult place. And the deeper cuts to schools and the universities, it’s going to be on their hands, bec the key to a balanced budget solution rests not with the Democrats but under the constitution rests with the Republicans who can alone constitute a 2/3 majority vote.
“We cannot continue to engage in obfuscation and not face the music. It’s not a decision I make lightly or insensitive to the pressures on legislators. But the fact is California has been living beyond its means for the better part of a decade. We now have to readjust what it is we spend with what it is the taxpayers give us. And it’s not pretty, it’s not pleasant, but I got elected at this stage of my life not to evade and not to delay… I think the veto will actually help add pressure to make tougher cuts or hopefully to encourage Republicans to let the people exercise their right which is theirs to vote yes or no on tax extensions.”
Also: From Controller John Chiang on the legislator pay issue:
“I will move quickly to complete our analysis of whether the budget bills passed Wednesday meet the constitutional definition, or fall short, which would require my office to forfeit their pay under Proposition 25. We are awaiting the final budget bill language before we begin our examination. In addition, we have asked the Department of Finance, which tracks and tallies the Legislature’s budget activities, for data to inform our decision.”
Update 1:35 p.m. Only report I could find so far on Brown’s press conference is this short note from Bloomberg.
California Governor Jerry Brown said he hopes to persuade Republican lawmakers to support his tax- extension plan after vetoing a budget the Democrat-controlled Legislature sent to him yesterday that lacked the proposal. “I’m going to talk to each of those Republicans for the 10th time, for the 15th time,” Brown said today at a news conference at his office in Los Angeles.
Update 1:30 p.m. The Mercury News editorial board likes Brown’s veto.
Update 12 p.m. Senate Pro Tem Steinberg and Assembly Speaker Perez speaker at a press conference about Brown’s veto. They were not happy with the governor by any stretch of the imagination. Some of their comments in paraphrase below. Brown is scheduled to hold a press conference in L.A. sometime soon.
“Yesterday’s ‘ budget was the best hope California had for economic recovery.”
“We are very proud of the work we did with limited resources.”
“We stand by the actions we took.”
“Quite frankly his action is dismaying.”
“I don’t see the votes for something that does cuts beyond the level that we did yesterday.”
“He hasn’t been proven to be successful in getting Republican votes.”
“Fair is fair… I heard from the Chief Justice of California that the cuts we made to the court make it difficult for people to have access to the courts…. The governor is really getting caught up and a little bit confused between total victory, which in this process can not be achieved in one year, and progress. We made between 60% and 2/3 dent in structural deficit in Calif. What’s wrong with declaring partial victory, and then finishing the work?”
“We support getting his plan done and getting GOP votes. But now he has got to articulate what the alternative is with specificity.”
“The action today was completely unnecessary….But the guv seems completely determined to pass his original plan A. We support Plan A. But if he can’t, nothing before us is visibly an option.”
“We clearly met the obligation to pass a balanced, on-time budget” (talking about the legislator pay issue).
Pretty remarkable; it starts with Brown scrawling his signature on what is presumed to be a veto letter.
Here’s a transcript of his video message:
Today I have vetoed the California state budget. I do so reluctantly but with clear purpose. For a decade the can has been kicked down the road and debt has piled up. In January I presented a balanced budget solution of deep spending cuts and a proposal to let the people of California vote on whether to extend some taxes on a temporary basis. Unfortunately the Republicans said no; they didn’t want the people of California to have that right to vote.
The Democrats on the other hand made some very deep cuts. And in the budget that I receive today there was more positive work. Unfortunately it doesn’t go far enough. California is facing a fiscal crisis and very strong medicine must be taken. So 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.
And here’s Brown’s written message at the bottom of the YouTube video:
I am returning Senate Bill 69 and Assembly Bill 98 without my signature.
In January, I presented a balanced budget solution with a mix of deep spending cuts and temporary tax extensions subject to voter approval. My plan would put these extended revenues in a lockbox, ensuring that they are only used to protect education and public safety. It would also address California’s long term fiscal crisis by substantially paying down the $35 billion wall of debt built up over the last decade.
Yet Republicans in the Legislature blocked the right of the people to vote on this honest, balanced budget.
Meanwhile, Democrats in the Legislature made valiant efforts to address California’s budget crisis by enacting $11 billion in painful cuts and other solutions. I commend them for their tremendous efforts to balance the budget in the absence of Republican cooperation.
Unfortunately, the budget I have received is not a balanced solution. It continues big deficits for years to come and adds billions of dollars of new debt. It also contains legally questionable maneuvers, costly borrowing and unrealistic savings. Finally, it is not financeable and therefore will not allow us to meet our obligations as they occur.
We can — and must — do better. A balanced budget is critical to our economic recovery. I am, once again, calling on Republicans to allow the people of California to vote on tax extensions for a balanced budget and significant reforms. They should also join Democrats in supporting job creation and ending tax breaks for out-of-state companies. If they continue to obstruct a vote, we will be forced to pursue deeper and more destructive cuts to schools and public safety– a tragedy for which Republicans will bear full responsibility.
In March, Brown said this at an appearance before the Budget Conference Committee:
I want to make one thing clear, and that’s another reason I came here. If we don’t get the tax extensions, I am not going to sign a budget that is not an all-cuts budget. And it’s going to be turbulent… It’s either the tax extensions and the 12 billion or its 25 billion or as close to that as we’re gonna get. And then if we can’t do that, then maybe we don’t get a budget and we just sit here and wrangle…. (Audio here.)
Looks like he meant it…