(Dec. 5, 2003, posted at 8:30 p.m.) -- In a high visibility, eleventh hour legislative duel in the Assembly Budget Committee, chair Jenny Oropeza (D, LB-Carson) unveiled and won passage late this afternoon of an alternative spending cap and debt financing measure, putting her measures on a collision course with a spending cap and bond financing plan favored by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's administration.
In polite but firm advocacy, Assemblywoman Oropeza responded to objections (including a few from Democrats) and brought both of her measures to a Committee vote...where they both passed. Democrats hold majorities in both the Assembly and state Senate, and thus also on their committees. Oropeza then led Committee Democrats in voting down -- effectively blocking with a deadline approaching -- Assembly advance of the Schwarzenegger administration's favored spending cap and bond financing measure.
Committee vice chair, Republican Assemblyman Rick Keene (R., Chico), pleaded with the Committee not to defeat the Schwarzenegger administration measures so that both the Oropeza and Schwarzenegger administration measures could advance to further Assembly debate.
But after her measures passed, Assemblywoman Oropeza called the Schwarzenegger's administration's spending cap deeply flawed and a threat to balance of power between the Governor and the legislature. She urged the Committee to vote down both of the Schwarzenegger administration's measures...and majority Democrats did.
Defeat in Oropeza's committee effectively blocked the Schwarzenegger administration favored spending cap and bond measure in the Assembly...where they now face an uncertain fate with an imminent deadline for putting measures on the March 2004.
Assemblywoman Oropeza said her spending cap was fiscally responsible and prevented the legislature from spending more than it takes in. Committee Republicans said Oropeza's spendig cap contained loopholes that allowed crafty legislators and Governors to circumvent spending limits.
Republican Assemblyman Ray Haynes (R, Riverside) acknowledged that he favored Oropeza's shorter, less costly bond measure, but objected to her proposed spending cap verbiage. Assemblyman Haynes said if Democrats would accept the Schwarzenegger administration's spending cap, he would support the Democrats' bond measure and there could be deal.
There was no deal in the Assembly Budget Committee.
The Budget Committee did pass, with a mix of Republicans and Democrats, a spending cap co-authored by Assemblyman Joe Canciamilla (D., Martinez) and Keith Richman (R., SFV). The Canciamilla-Richman spending cap, along with Oropeza's spending cap, now both go to Assembly's Elections and Constitutional Amendment Committee (where they must go as proposed constitutional amendments)...with the clock ticking on putting measures on the March 2004 ballot.