California lawmakers pass budget, keep paychecks

California legislators passed a state budget just hours before they would have had their legislative salaries cut. 

Lawmakers acted on a set of bills Monday, hours before the June 15 deadline set by Prop. 25, a constitutional amendment that allows for budgets and similar bills to pass with a lower threshold but also mandates lawmakers send the governor a budget or see their pay docked.

Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, D-Lakewood, said they sent Gov. Gavin Newsom a responsible budget. 

“I’m proud of the work we’ve done, and look forward to working with Governor Newsom to finalize our state budget,” Rendon said in a statement.

At $114,877 a year plus per diem, California lawmakers are paid more than those in any other state.

Republicans criticized Democrats on Monday morning for sending Newsom a budget that he hadn’t endorsed to meet the deadline.

“This is a fake budget,” Sen. Jim Nielsen, R-Tehama, said in a committee hearing. “It’s a feel-good budget, it’s a let-us-get-paid budget.”

Lawmakers passed what was called a “placeholder budget” in 2020, ensuring they remained paid but understood the legislation wasn’t likely to be enacted as it was.

Newsom was upbeat in his reaction statement to the passage of a budget. 

“I’m grateful for the Legislature’s partnership and am confident we will reach a budget agreement that reflects our shared values and keeps California on a sustainable path of recovery and growth,” he said, adding he looks forward to working with lawmakers on revisions.

The two budget versions contain much of what Newsom proposed in the spring but spends more in subsequent budget years. One added provision would send local governments part of $1 billion annually to fight homelessness.

The new recurring spending brought praise from a coalition of mayors from the state’s largest cities who say, without such funding, the existing spending faces “a collective fiscal cliff.”

Without significant direct flexible funding to local communities – outlined in the Legislature’s budget proposal of $1 billion annually for the next four years – for ongoing operations and supportive services at these sites, we face the unconscionable reality of pushing thousands of our neighbors back into the streets,” they said in a statement.

Newsom now can revise the budget bills and send the changes back to lawmakers for consideration.

This article was originally posted on California lawmakers pass budget, keep paychecks

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