Lawmakers closed a budget deal tonight that all had reason to dislike.
With Republicans still opposed, the Senate voted 22-14 and the Assembly 41-30 to approve the final fix of the long overdue package. Republican leaders supported the budget deal reached Thursday, but no GOP members voted for the bill.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who is expected to sign the budget next week, said the spending plan is "an improvement" over earlier versions, but still fails to solve California's structural financial problems.
"Unfortunately the Legislature was unable to make the hard decisions to end our structural deficit, but this budget is an improvement of the earlier versions," he said. The Republican governor nevertheless plans to sign it next week, perhaps as early as Monday.
"Hospitals, nursing homes, day care services will be able to get paid...and California will be able to fulfill its obligations," said Schwarzenegger, who said he hopes to move on to make redistricting changes, reform the health care system and develop a statewide water plan.
"I don't see much of a signing ceremony, because there's nothing to celebrate," he said.
Schwarzenegger said he would support an initiative to penalize lawmakers when the budget is late.
"The one thing that I would look at right away is to create consequences so that when the Legislature is late one day there are consequences," he said. "Even after two months, you know, they are just very relaxed about it and in the meantime you cannot pay your bills. I think there's something wrong with that."
The governor said such a ballot measure would have to be put on via initiative, because the Legislature would not do it themselves. "I don't think it will get done in this building," he said.
Steve Maviglio, spokesman for Democratic Assembly Speaker Karen Bass, said that since Schwarzenegger took office, "he's attacked the legislature instead of working with us to move the state forward."
"Whether it's 'Girlieman' name-calling or holding media events instead of rolling up his sleeves and leading, it's no surprise that after five years he doesn't have a single ally of either party in the building where he works," he said.