Cali. State Budget Deal Unraveling By the Minute

July 22, 2009

(ChattahBox)—After months of wrangling between Governor Schwarzenegger and contentious California lawmakers, as the state descended further into bankruptcy, a deal was finally reached on Tuesday to close a $26 billion budget deficit.

And now the deal is beginning to unravel right before the Governor’s eyes, as legislators threaten to torpedo the budget compromise, because of a provision that would trigger an early release of about 27,000 inmates.

Governor’ Schwarzenegger stayed out of the fray yesterday, except to post a video on Twitter, where he is shown playing with a knife and talking about the prospect of autographing state property to be auctioned off to raise extra cash for his beleaguered state.

While the governor tweeted, Rome burned. The Republicans in the state Assembly reacted angrily at the news of the prison cuts, which would result in scaling back the prison population, by placing some inmates on home detention, fast tracking of rehabilitation programs and reducing parole supervision for the least serious offenders.

The Republicans are threatening to vote against the budget deal, saying in an email that they were double-crossed, and would not have voted for the deal had they known of the plans for the state prisons.

And the Republicans are not the only roadblock to the passing of the budget deal. Los Angeles County officials are preparing to sue the state and a union for government workers threatened to strike in opposition to budget cuts.

The super majority needed in the California Legislature of a two-thirds vote in each house, to pass a bill may be the budget deal’s undoing once again. Without Republican votes, the budget won’t make it through the legislature.

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