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)