June 15, 2005


State Budget Battle Fizzles: The spending plan could be approved on time today after Democrats postpone their fight for school funding to focus on the special election. (Evan Halper, June 15, 2005, LA Times)

The Democrats who control the Legislature have abandoned their effort to add billions of dollars in programs to the governor's proposed state budget, and are preparing to vote for a spending plan with no new taxes and no extra money for schools.

Shifting their focus to the coming special election fight, the lawmakers are surrendering to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on the major spending issues that have separated the two sides for months. For the first time in years, they are rushing to meet their constitutional deadline for passing a budget today with a viable plan. Democrats fear that holding up the budget — even for what they argue is the noble cause of trying to restore $3 billion that schools say they are owed — would hurt them Nov. 8 and drive voters to approve spending controls the governor helped place on the ballot. They said they would try to secure the money by other means.

They say they will vote in favor of a budget that closely resembles the governor's latest spending plan, issued in May. The strategy shift is an indication of the extent to which the special election, ordered by Schwarzenegger on Monday, already has begun to dominate decision making in the Capitol.

It's not a good sign when you fear the voters.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 15, 2005 7:42 AM
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