Late Night With The Legislature, End Of The World As We Know It Edition
It has been truly depressing to watch the Twitter feeds of John Myers and Scott Lay tonight, as the mood shifted from guardedly hopeful to despairing. The Senate keeps voting on things and not coming up with any solutions. They tried to pass the stop-gap solution again, and came up short of the votes needed. They passed the majority-vote budget with some fee increases, and the Governor vetoed them. Let's all please remember that. With a stroke of the pen, the Governor could have ended this.
If SB 64 and SB 80 (the stop-gap) don't pass by midnight (and actually, in an hour or so, because it takes a couple hours to prepare the necessary paperwork), the state will forfeit $3 billion in cuts to the 2008-09 budget year, which they will have to find in the following year, and a total of around $7 billion in total costs, when you add in the costs of additional borrowing, etc.
At some point, a large majority-vote budget (which wouldn't take effect for 90 days), absent the tax increases, passed the Senate and moved on to the Assembly, where it will be voted on tonight. According to Scott Lay, it covers all but $1 billion of the target, which is probably enough for the Governor to veto it. Why, it's almost as if he doesn't want a solution but instead an opportunity to push through a bunch of long-sought goals shock-doctrine style!
The Senate just tried again to get the necessary votes for the stop-gap, and fell short by the exact same amount. They're in recess until 9:30 and will probably get only one more shot.