California budget impasse continues

California started a new fiscal year last week with no budget, something which happens with alarming regularity. Sacramento legislators faced with a choice between staying there and collecting a per diem with nothing to vote on or hightailing it home for July, opted for the extended vacation.

While I suppose it’s praiseworthy they didn’t just hang around collecting money, wouldn’t a third and better option have been to stay there negotiating until a budget deal is reached?

For one thing, a deal would mean state workers won’t be paid $7.25 an hour as Schwarzenegger has ordered, even if the state controller says he won’t comply. Oh wait, you’re probably wondering, well, why don’t legislators just stay in Sacramento, negotiate a budget, and not collect the per diem. Political consultant Leo McElroy weighed in on that, saying “That one was a non-starter. Someone said that has about the same odds as William Shatner winning the Academy Award as best actor.” (Our sympathy goes out to Mr. Shatner for being compared to the California legislature)

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