The following memo is from the California Democratic Legislative Leaders… (Maybe)
Just in case all you voters and taxpayers out there missed the news this past week, we Democrats just spent hundreds of thousands of your dollars to fight a ballot measure you passed in 2010, so that we can continue to waste your money, cater to our public employee union bosses so they’ll keep giving us campaign money, and play shell games with the budget and your lives.
You thought Proposition 25 would dock our pay if we didn’t pass a balanced budget on time…ha, ha, ha, got you.
Sorry to laugh, but let’s be absolutely transparent on this – we only put the pay-docking language in to get you to vote for the initiative. The real purpose of the initiative was to give us Democrats the ability to pass a budget without having to include those Republicans in the process (not that they would ever hold out for much). You did, and we Democrats now own the budget process.
Then, it all backfired. On the very first budget we send out after you gave us these new power, the governor – a Democrat himself! – said it was unbalanced and vetoed it. “It continues big deficits for years to come and adds billions of dollars of new debt. It also contains legally questionable maneuvers, costly borrowing and unrealistic savings. We can – and must – do better.”
Then the State Controller piled on and agreed that the budget was unbalanced and stated that per Prop. 25, he wouldn’t pay us. That was just some loco talk.
We should be able to pass any budget we want; even one filled with gimmicks, accounting tricks and utterly unrealistic revenue assumptions, because we control the process now. Don’t they know the games we play in California?
So, we took it to court. Not pay us? Simply because the law we created and sold to you as Prop. 25 said so? That is not acceptable. That was not how we, the lawmakers, intended the law to work. The pay-docking talk was just for show. It was the pretty color in the Kool-Aid we wanted you to drink.
Anyway, a judge has agreed with us that the Controller can never cut our pay again, regardless of whether our budget is balanced or not.
Yes, the governor can still say it’s unbalanced and send it back to us. And then it may take us days, weeks or months after the June 30 deadline to do our job and deliver a budget that’s not even close to balanced. And during that time, all the people who count on a budget being passed so they can continue to pay their employees or receive vital lifeline funds will have to do without.
But that’s OK… We’ll still be getting paid. Thank you.
Signed, Democratic Leadership, California Legislature
(For those people who are a little slow on the uptake, the above note was at attempt at sarcasm, and is fictional, not actually from the Democrats. Although it wouldn’t be surprising to me if a memo very similar to this actually does exist.)