Sen. Abel Maldonado, R-Santa Maria, votes no as the Senate takes up the budget bills Sunday morning without success. Image Credit: Brian Baer/Sacramento Bee
An Open Letter To State Senator Abel Maldonado
Dear California State Senator Abel Maldonado:
Please show a Republican backbone, an Abe Lincoln (the one who abolished slavery - abusive taxes are slavery) backbone, a fiscal backbone, a Magan's Law type of backbone for ALL of the citizens of this fine state.
VOTE NO ON THE STATE BUDGET - NO ON ANY TAX INCREASES.
Thank you for your backbone - Living in Los Angeles, I do not have a Republican State Senator to speak for me ... so you are my only voice.
Managing Editor - MAXINE, Oblate Spheroid, Symblogogy
Feature Page Editor/Reporter - NowPublic
Blog Roll - Pajamas Media
"This will get done," Senate Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg [pictured] told Sen. Sam Aanestad, R-Penn Valley, who complained that the closed-door meetings were excluding the public. Image Credit: Carl Costas/Sacramento Bee
This excerpted and edited from the Sacramento Bee -
California lawmakers fail to pass budget deal
By Steve Wiegand and Dan Smith - Sacramento Bee - Monday, February 16, 2009
California legislators tried and failed for a second day Sunday to close a $40 billion hole in the state's budget, still one Republican vote short of approving a package that contains $14.3 billion in tax increases.
State Sen. Abel Maldonado, a moderate Republican from Santa Maria, indicated in an interview with The Bee that he was willing to consider casting the decisive vote if he was satisfied with the final version of the tax proposal.
"I'm very concerned with the tax package," said Maldonado, who early Sunday had been quoted as saying he was adamantly opposed to the tax hikes. "We're still working on that. Everything's fluid. I don't like tax increases. … let me just work on the tax issue. I'm working on that. I don't want my state to go off the cliff, OK? I don't want that."
Senate President Pro Tem, Darrell Steinberg, seated, talks with fellow democrats at 5:25 a.m. as they attempt to get the one Republican vote needed to pass the budget plan in the Senate. Behind him from the left, are Senators Mark Leno, D-San Francsico, Christine Kehoe , D-San Diego, Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro and Jenny Oropeza, D-Long Beach. Image Credit: Brian Baer/Sacramento Bee
Legislative leaders and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger sought to find a way to persuade Maldonado to vote for the tax bill.
The Senate adjourned shortly thereafter, with plans to return at 11 a.m. today.
As all sides neared exhaustion, the delay was designed to allow Maldonado more time to mull over his choices.
"This will get done," Senate Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg told Sen. Sam Aanestad, R-Penn Valley, who complained that the closed-door meetings were excluding the public.
I wish to God that you could deviate just a little bit," he told Aanestad, "just a little bit from your philosophy, from this endless mantra of no new revenue, no new revenue ever, and be participant and a partner with us in solving this problem."
The key bills in the package, which has been hung up since Saturday, require two-thirds approval of both the Assembly and the state Senate.
That means at least three Republicans have to vote for those elements with the 51 Democrats in the Assembly, and three Republicans would have to do likewise with the 24 Democrats in the state Senate. Most Republican legislators have taken pledges never to raise taxes, and fear that doing so could lead to their defeat in GOP primaries.
Even so, legislative leaders had said the three GOP Assembly votes were there. The hang-up was that there were only two Republican senators – Senate GOP leader Dave Cogdill of Modesto and Sen. Roy Ashburn of Bakersfield – willing to vote for the package.
Another GOP senator, Dave Cox of Fair Oaks, was widely believed to be the 27th vote, but made it clear Sunday he would vote no.
The budget-balancing aspect of the package takes a three-pronged approach, with $14.3 billion in temporary tax increases, $15.1 billion in spending cuts and $11.4 billion in borrowing.
The plan also relies on voter approval of five measures at a May 19 special election.
Voters would be asked to OK borrowing money from two voter-created special funds for mental health and children's health programs, changing constitutional language that covers lottery operations and school financing, and creating a spending cap.
The latter five measure conditions that require a vote by the public on May 19th are provisions that have been voted on by the citizens before - passing by 70% - and now this group of legislators will be asking all of us to overturn our vote on the use of these monies in the State Budget.
Why don't we all vote to end taxation slavery and get a whole new bunch of legislators who know how NOT to tax and spend.