Governor Signs 19 Budget-Related Bills and Vetoes 2


Gov. Pete Wilson has signed a series of bills needed to make the state budget work, but he vetoed two measures, saying that they would create a deficit or would roll over debt into the next year.

Wilson's actions, which were announced late Tuesday, make changes in state law that were necessary to implement the budget. All the bills were part of a package sent to the governor by the Legislature to end a 63-day budget impasse that had the state paying bills with IOUs. The main budget bill was signed on Sept. 2.

Among the 19 follow-up bills that Wilson signed are measures that will:

* Shift $1.3 billion in property tax from cities, counties, special districts and redevelopment agencies to school districts.

* Allow community colleges to raise fees from $6 to $10 per unit.

* Authorize a 40% increase in California State University fees.

* Slice $617 million from a number of health and welfare programs.

* Permit counties to reduce general assistance welfare payments.

* Give counties the ability to reduce certain local health programs.

Wilson vetoed a measure that would have restored $2.7 million to state Department of Rehabilitation programs for the physically and mentally disabled. In his veto message, the governor said "the net impact of this bill would be to create a deficiency."

He also vetoed a bill that would allow the state to borrow $135 million in order to meet debt payments on outstanding bonds. Borrowing the money was the equivalent of delaying the obligations, Wilson said, adding that he "would not tolerate deficit rollovers."

The governor indicated that two of the measures that he signed were flawed and said that they would both require legislation next year to correct them.

One of the bills provides for the funding of the state's trial courts while increasing filing fees and fines and making changes in the operations of the courts. The measure will allow the state's courts to continue to operate, but Wilson contends that it does not do enough to avoid a deficit this year. Earlier this month, he cut $206 million from $818 million that the Legislature provided for local trial courts. Wilson said he won't restore that money until he gets new legislation that removes the threat of a deficit.

With the signing of the bills, Wilson is now close to finishing work on this year's budget. Still pending are two measures that would authorize spending $512 million for schools. The bills were approved last week when the Legislature returned to the Capitol for a few hours to restore the education money, which Wilson had vetoed from the budget.

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