While most state lawmakers are still collecting full pay, cost of living expenses and car allowance, there’s a move in the state legislature to cut the pay in both the Senate and the Assembly.
Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg sent a letter to staff and senators Tuesday suggesting they cut the Senate’s annual operating budget of $100 million by 10 percent, according to a report in the Sacramento Bee.
The Senate has 900 staff employees, most of whom make more than $50,000, the paper reports. So the cutbacks, in the form of furloughs, would save about $4 million.
Steinberg is scheduled to make his recommendation to the Senate Rules Committee next week..
The state legislature once again ignored the constitutional deadline for presenting a budget to the governor.
Assembly Speaker Karen Bass has said Democrats are considering a severance tax on oil production and closing some corporate tax loopholes. They also are discussing another increase in the vehicle license fee -- this time by $15 -- to keep state parks open.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is proposing steep cuts in social services while vowing not to accept any plan that includes higher taxes.
Just Wednesday, a legislative budget committee reportedly rejected the governor’s plan to cut state employee’s paychecks by an additional 5 percent.
At the same time, committee members voted to increase the state’s cigarette tax from 85 cents a pack to $2.37, according to the Bee.
The governor has said he will veto proposed taxes used to balance the budget.
Democratic leaders said they will present their budget plan on Wednesday.