The Controller says he'll permanently withhold legislators' salaries and per diem starting June 16th if they haven't approved a balanced budget by then. Things are different this year because of voter-approved proposition 25, which says lawmakers permanently forfeit their pay if they don't pass a budget by June 15.
It gets tricky though, because lawmakers actually passed a budget bill in March. Problem is, it's not quite balanced. Controller John Chiang says that's not good enough to satisfy prop. 25. He says he will "enforce the voters' demand." In the past lawmakers have temporarily forfeited their salaries when the budget was late - but they received that pay later.
"Reluctant acceptance" pretty much sums up the reactions of two lawmakers to Chiang's announcement. Democratic Assemblyman Bill Monning says lawmakers knew the "rules of the game" coming in.
Monning: "I wish there was a better way to reflect who's stepped up and taken the tough votes and who's staying away from the votes. But that's not how Prop 25 works. So we're all in the same boat together. But maybe it'll create the leverage necessary to move some of our Republican friends."
Or … maybe it won't, says Tea Party Assemblyman Tim Donnelly.
Donnelly: "I came up here to fight to change things. Didn't come up here for a paycheck. Yeah, it's important. Yeah, you know, I'm not a millionaire. But there is nothing that's gonna change the way that I vote, the way that I fight."
Assembly Speaker John Perez released a statement backing the Controller's decision.