Budget By Sunrise
Maybe you've been following along at Calitics, but if you haven't, the Senate essentially passed all of their budget bills, albeit with difficulty, and adjourned a session that started last night around 7:30pm at 6:16 this morning. The Assembly is still working through some of the final trailer bills, including the local government raids and the offshore drilling proposal at Tranquillon Ridge. Here's an incomplete roundup from the LA Times.
The worst elements of the bill were passed while everyone was asleep. They must be very proud of their work.
And of course, this is a rolling, perpetual crisis. Dan Walters is correct today when he says that the state now operates on 5-month budget cycles.
There have been some discussions about shifting to a two-year budget cycle to ease the one-year cycle's tight – and usually unmet – timetable. In reality, though, the state has shifted to a five-month cycle, with the latest version of the budget, which was undergoing the dreary drill of adoption Thursday night, being the latest example [...]
If the five-month cycle holds true, the deal's deficiencies will be acknowledged in October, when the state must redeem the IOUs it's sending to creditors. And then legislators will return to Sacramento to be entertained by lobbyists, plug the new holes and collect about $1,200 a week in tax-free per diem checks.
In January, the governor will propose a 2010-11 budget and the game will begin again.
It's as much that they cannot fathom the extremity of the real budget problems as that the cumulative effect of kicking the can becomes greater with every kick. Of course, there's a way out - you could reduce useless tax breaks to corporations and increase revenue. But that's deeply unserious and verboten.
If ever the need for a Constitutional convention to fix the broken system in Sacramento has become clear, it's now, when 40 years of progress has been reversed in the dead of night.