Controller Says No Paychecks For California Lawmakers Until Budget Balanced

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California State Capitol in Sacramento (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

California State Capitol in Sacramento (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

SACRAMENTO (CBS SF) – State Controller John Chiang said Thursday he will withhold lawmakers’ pay starting June 16 unless they have passed a balanced budget by then.

Chiang said he was acting under power granted by voters who approved Proposition 25 last November.

“They expect their representatives to make the difficult decisions needed to resolve any budget shortfalls by the mandatory deadline,” he said, “or be penalized.”

KCBS’ Barbara Taylor Reports:

The initiative requires lawmakers to forfeit their salary and per diem pay until they send a budget to the governor. It also allows the budget to pass on a simple majority rather than a two-thirds vote.

June 15 is the constitutional deadline to approve a spending plan for California. Some argue that bills passed by the legislature in March meet the Prop 25 requirement.

Chiang said the early budget bills lawmakers approved in March don’t count because, by his analysis of the law, the budget the Legislature passes must be balanced.

The controller also interprets the law to mean that any lost pay cannot be made up retroactively.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services may have contributed to this report.)

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