California’s Controller has decided to withhold state lawmakers’ pay as of June 16th. He says the budget passed last week by majority Democrats doesn’t pencil out.
Controller John Chiang says it came down to basic addition and subtraction. “We did the math and the budget does not balance on paper,” he said.
Under proposition 25, which voters passed last year, lawmakers forfeit their pay after June 15th if they haven’t passed a budget. Democrats pushed through a majority vote budget last week that was vetoed by Governor Brown. Chiang says it wasn’t the veto – but the fact that he found the budget unbalanced that informed his decision.
“This is obviously very challenging but we have to make sure that we follow the law,” Chiang said. “This is a nation and state of laws, and so, you make the decision, you call the numbers correctly, you have to make sure that you have the numbers accurately if California is going to move forward.”
Chiang says the spending plan was nearly two billion dollars out-of-balance. He says it underfunded schools and it included some revenue from bills that lawmakers didn’t pass.
Democratic Assembly Speaker John Perez says he believes the Controller made the wrong decision. He says Chiang is allowing Republicans to control the budget process. Perez says lawmakers will be taking additional budget action in the coming days.