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State budget veto would be first in state history

September 16, 2008 |  1:59 pm

Ummmm_no So they're reading the tea leaves up in Sacramento today, where on Day 78 of the Great Budget Impasse of '08, it's looking like Arnold Schwarzenegger is about to become the first governor in California history to veto a state budget.

The road to this sorry mess has been long and tortured, with Schwarzenegger's push for a new sales tax riling GOP lawmakers, almost all of whom signed an oath never to support a tax increase. As negotiations foundered, Schwarzenegger slapped back at legislators (that's the Senate chamber in the photo) by refusing to sign any bills. Meanwhile, government service providers awaiting close to $12 billion in late payments have begun to go bankrupt.

Today, Schwarzenegger's office sent around a manifesto of sorts, cobbled together from newspaper op-eds and editorials, excoriating the current budget. A little later, he set a 5 p.m. time for a press conference, soon changing it to 3 p.m.

If Schwarzenegger does make history with the first-ever budget veto, legislative leaders say they believe they have the votes to override the veto. Not quite the headlines the governor dreamed of when he swept into Sacramento in 2003, promising to fix our broken government.

-- Veronique de Turenne