That white smoke emanating from the Capitol is not from the smoldering hostilities between the governor and lawmakers. Nope, it’s a signal, Democrats just said, of a budget deal. And this time, they mean it. Really.
Assembly Speaker Karen Bass just told reporters that Democrats have agreed to nix a controversial accounting scheme that would have increased personal income tax withholding by 10 percent to boost revenues, at least on paper. In exchange, the new budget will hike penalties by 20 percent on companies that underreport income by $1 million or more. Democrats also agreed to give the governor some additional control over spending that he asked for, although Bass insisted “it’s not a hard cap.”
Reporters asked Bass how sure she is that there’s a real deal on the table.
“How sure? It’s sure. It’s happening at 5 o’clock (Friday). It’ll pass,” she said. The Senate is scheduled to vote on the budget changes at 4 p.m.
A deal means the governor won’t veto the Legislature’s budget passed early Tuesday. And it means the Legislature won’t then try to override his veto. And it means the governor won’t retaliate by vetoing more than 800 legislative bills headed to his desk. And that’s got to make Chief Justice Ronald George smile, since he’s counting on the governor to sign his $5 billion courthouse construction bill.
— Cheryl Miller