Dems: ‘This budget sucks, but don’t veto it.’

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger says he’ll veto the slapdash state budget that the Legislature approved in the wee hours of this morning. State Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata, D-Oakland, isn’t happy:

“A veto is perhaps good public relations, but poor leadership. This is not a budget the Democrats or the Governor wanted. It’s a failure. But Republicans had the final say – and they said no.”

“We need to end the spectacle and the suffering the impasse is causing.”

“Frankly, a veto simply puts the Governor in the starring role in California’s financial disaster.”

Assembly Speaker Karen Bass, D-Los Angeles, also laid much of the mess at the governor’s feet:

“The budget the legislature passed earlier today had one main purpose – to stop the real pain that was being caused to Californians because of the budget delay: Teachers who lost their jobs. Child care centers that closed their doors. Seniors who lost their caregivers and students who lost their financial aid.”

“They were only some of the victims of a chronic budget problem in California that has been going on for decades. Over the past few months it became clear that California’s chronic budget problems couldn’t be resolved in a single session of the legislature. Not when we have a 2/3 requirement to pass a budget and raise revenues — a disastrous tyranny of the minority that other states have sensibly avoided. Not when we have a revenue system based on what made sense in the 1930s — a system that careens from year to year with no long term stability.”

“If the people of California are the victims in the chronic budget crisis, the 2/3 vote and the outdated revenue system are the villains. Because of the two thirds vote requirement when legislative Democrats made cuts and supported taxes– and when the governor made cuts and supported taxes—a small Republican minority was still able to hold the budget hostage for almost three months.”

“If Governor Schwarzenegger had been able to convince even a handful of legislators from his party to support a budget – AS EVERY OTHER GOVERNOR IN HISTORY HAS BEEN ABLE TO DO – we wouldn’t be in this situation. But Governor Schwarzenegger was not able to produce a single vote — and the people of California were hurting — so we stepped in to pass a compromise budget that, while ugly in many aspects, at least buys us time to make progress on the real reforms we need: reforming the 2/3 vote requirement; moving forward with a bipartisan commission with budget experts from all sides to bring our revenue system into line with the 21st century economy; and looking at two-year budgets and other operating solutions that bring about some stability.”

“None of these can be done overnight. And we can not in good conscience let Californians suffer during the time it takes to fix these problems.”

“It’s easy for pundits to point out flaws in this budget instead of focusing their power on building support for the reforms we need. It wasn’t easy to pass this budget. There were too many cuts and not enough revenues and too many bitter pills my Democratic colleagues and I had to swallow. But it had to be done.”

“And the truth of the matter is Governor Schwarzenegger was supportive of this entire budget except for a single provision he wanted that he didn’t get. One single provision. That’s no excuse to close down services for the developmentally disabled and make small business owners mortgage their homes to stay in business.”

“This week my colleagues and I will meet to override the governor’s veto of the compromise budget. We will not let the people of California suffer. And most important, we will not give up our fight to restore sanity to the budget process by reforming the 2/3 vote, modernizing the revenue system and bringing stability to the process.”

“Ultimately, a lot of the decisions will be in your hands because fixing the system means changing the state constitution. I know with honest information the people of California will do the right thing.”

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.