California: ‘A Catastrophe of Unbelievable Proportions’

California to begin layoff proceedings today

After a frustrating holiday weekend that failed to yield the one vote needed to end California’s budget stalemate, the state is poised to begin layoff proceedings Tuesday for 20,000 government workers.

In addition to the layoffs, the state also plans to halt all remaining public works projects, potentially putting thousands of construction workers out of jobs.
“We are dealing with a catastrophe of unbelievable proportions,” said state Sen. Alan Lowenthal, a Democrat from Long Beach and chairman of the Senate transportation committee.

Senate leader Darrell Steinberg announced late Monday that lawmakers had failed to find the final vote in his chamber as Republicans refused to support tax increases. He called a session for Tuesday and said he would put the tax provisions of the budget proposal up for a vote, even if they would not pass.

Steinberg warned lawmakers to bring their toothbrushes, saying they would not leave until that vote was secured.

“One member,” Steinberg said. “One more member to put the interest of the state ahead of ideology and ahead of any parochial concern.”

Like other states, California faces plunging tax revenue that has imperiled state services. The proposal put before lawmakers this weekend was negotiated by Schwarzenegger and the four legislative leaders and appeared to have support of the required two-thirds majority in the state Assembly.

Full Story

California Lawmakers Face Lockdown as Budget Falters

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