Calif. Can't Settle Budget; Guv Will Begin 20K Layoffs

Remaining state public-works projects to be stopped
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Feb 17, 2009 6:37 AM CST
State Sen. Alan Lowenthal, D-Long Beach, points to Republican members of the Senate as he calls for them to approve a state budget plan, at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif., yesterday.   (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
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(Newser) – California’s legislature couldn’t agree on a budget by the time it adjourned last night, so even as legislators trudge back to negotiate this morning, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will begin proceedings to lay off 20,000 government workers and halt the 275 state-funded public works projects still in action, the Los Angeles Times reports. The governor had delayed the layoffs in hopes that lawmakers could settle on a budget, but Democrats couldn’t get the two-thirds majority needed to pass a plan.

Other state projects were halted in November; the remaining ones, which cost $3.8 billion, were continued due to the cost of stopping or resuming them or because of public-safety concerns. They include earthquake-proofing Los Angeles roads and bridges. Democrats haven’t been able to find the three required GOP votes in the state senate to pass the budget; Republicans remain firmly opposed to raising taxes. Legislators will meet again today, the AP reports.