Arnold Calls Another Special Session on Budget As Elements of His Plan Leak Out

He’s called so many that it’s hard to remember if there is such a thing as a regular session. I’ve heard there is such thing, but for the time being, the Legislature will have to deal with this special session on the budget.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger intends to call the Legislature into emergency session to confront a nearly $6.3 billion budget gap in the current fiscal year. The governor is expected to outline his proposed solutions by Friday – when he will unveil his new budget for the 2010-11 fiscal year that begins July 1.

The emergency declaration, authorized under voter-approved Proposition 58, requires lawmakers to act within 45 days on his proposals or pass their own combination of cuts and revenue increases. There is no penalty if the Legislature fails to perform, although lawmakers are barred from adjourning or considering other issues until they act on the governor’s plan. (CapWeekly)

Not that we really needed anything to focus us back on the budget, but here it is.  Steinberg had been hinting around action in the next couple of weeks, so this essentially just fomalizes. Of course, as the Weekly points out, they will be doing this in the context of Abel Maldonado LG Confirmation hearings.  

That become increasingly important as the Governor’s plan includes some tax increases that would require 2/3 vote, and almost certainly require Maldo’s vote. Of course, that all hinges on the Assembly mustering up the three votes again and Sens. Ashburn and Cogdill coming along for the ride as well. Now, that’s some fun math.

The Governor seems to be trying to play a game of chicken with the Feds, trying to force their hands.  If what has been trickling out is accurate, Schwarzenegger wants to make the budget contingent on federal dollars coming in to the state.  While it isn’t necessarily a huge long shot, as the second stimulus is likely to include additional state aid, it attempts to put the trigger in the hands of the federal government. Rather than the state elected leaders taking the blame for the cuts (or tax increases if the votes are there), Arnold and Krew get to blame the feds. Nice move if you can pull it off.

It’s going to be yet another hellish budget season.