State controller cuts off legislators’ pay

June 21, 2011

State Controller John Chiang says he is cutting off pay for state legislators because the budget they passed last week was not balanced.

Chiang said in a statement that the budget as written would have spent $1.85 billion more than it took in from taxes and fees.

“My office’s careful review of the recently-passed budget found components that were miscalculated, miscounted or unfinished,” said Chiang. “The numbers simply did not add up, and the Legislature will forfeit their pay until a balanced budget is sent to the Governor.”

Proposition 25, passed by voters last November, allows the Legislature to pass a budget with a simple majority rather than the two-thirds vote that used to be required. But if they don’t pass a budget by June 15, their pay is docked each day a budget is not sent to the governor. Chiang has concluded that to keep their pay coming lawmakers must pass a balanced budget, because another measure, Proposition 58, passed in 2004, requires that spending be no more than projected revenues.

Legislative leaders disputed Chiang’s analysis but said they plan to pass measures in the coming days that would meet his standard for a balanced budget.

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