Records are made to be broken, but the state Legislature’s annual feet-dragging to get a budget passed is starting to sound like a broken record.
The Legislature in 2002 — led by soon-to-be-recalled Gov. Gray Davis — set a high standard of futility when it passed the budget 63 days late, leaving schools, libraries and countless programs with a financial schedule full of question marks.
Well, congratulations, Class of 2008-’09, you’re the new undisputed No. 1 in the delay department.
Once again, cities across California are being held hostage by politicians who seem more concerned about their respective parties than the people whom they serve.
The current partisan climate in the federal and state government along with the requirement that two-thirds of state legislators must agree on the budget is proving to be a lethal combination.
And Glendale and Burbank are suffering for it.
Each city held news conferences Friday at Glendale and Burbank city halls demanding that the budget stalemate end, and one that “doesn’t rely on gimmicks and quick fixes that only make our state’s budget problems worse,” said Allen Freemon, president of the Glendale Teachers Assn.
Without the state budget to guide it, Glendale Community College has already had to expend about $12 million from its general fund reserve since July and has now begun tapping into a $20-million capital improvement reserve account, said Larry Serot, vice president of administrative services at the school.
State Sen. Jack Scott, who has spoken out against the two-thirds requirement to pass the budget, will soon be on the list of people waiting rather than negotiating, when he assumes his new role leading the state community college system.
At Burbank City Hall on Friday, Assemblyman Paul Krekorian joined Schools Supt. Greg Bowman and the Burbank Teachers Assn. in calling upon the governor and Legislature to pass a fair budget.
But at this point, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s role is as a mediator.
Until state legislators agree on something, he has nothing to sign.
The Democratic majority (although not a two-thirds majority) wants things one way, while the Republican minority simply won’t vote until more of its ideas are represented.
Meanwhile, Glendale and Burbank wait.
And even when the budget does finally pass, nothing will seem fair to everyone.
We’ve been ready for more than two months now to at least be able to start talking about what’s fair and what isn’t, rather than wondering what might be.