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Day 50: A bipartisan lunch, but still no budget

August 19, 2010 |  5:42 pm

Fifty days into the fiscal year and no budget in hand, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger invited the top two Democrats in the Legislature to lunch Thursday, hoping to make some progress on the state’s stalled spending plan.

The trio, along with the governor’s ever-present chief of staff Susan Kennedy, dined at Spataro, an Italian eatery only blocks from the state Capitol.

Aaron McLear, a Schwarzenegger spokesman, called it “a good meeting,” but declined to elaborate. Another meeting of the governor, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) and Assembly Speaker John A. Perez (D-Los Angeles) is set for tomorrow, he said.

Perhaps a curious subplot: Who picked up the bill? Last week, Schwarzenegger told a group of business leaders that the only time lawmakers are “fiscally responsible” is when it comes to scrimping on the tip at restaurants.

“They watch every penny. I know, because I go out sometimes with them for lunch, I know how much tip they give,” he said to laughter.

None of the three offices immediately responded to a request for who paid for lunch.

-- Shane Goldmacher in Sacramento