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Republicans must unanimously support budget bill, Perata says

Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata said Wednesday that the Senate will not take up Republicans' proposed budget cuts unless all 15 GOP senators in the minority caucus vote for the budget bill. Here's the letter he sent to GOP Leader Dick Ackerman Wednesday afternoon.

July 25, 2007

The Honorable Dick Ackerman, Senate Republican Leader

State Capitol, Room 305

Sacramento, CA 95814

Dear Senator Ackerman:

We have postponed the vote on the Senate Republican budget today because your language has not yet been completed. I am hopeful that we will have your final language today in time to analyze it and can proceed with a vote tomorrow.

It's come to my attention that there may be some confusion about what your obligations are and the procedures pursuant to my letter and instruction on floor on July 21st.

The Senate Republican caucus is required to post a complete budget that has the votes of all 15 members of the caucus and gain the support of 12 Democrats - not simply a list of cuts to the current budget. I requested your office to "double-join" both the budget bill - and the supplemental bill making cuts to the budget. A vote on the budget bill is a vote on the cuts and a vote on the cuts is a vote on the budget.

We will proceed as follows:

(1) I will recognize you for the purpose of taking up amendments to AB 203, which I will suggest be adopted unanimously without objection. This is your resubmission of the conference report in SB 77. If adopted, I will suggest that Senate Rule 29.3 be suspended, so that you may take up AB 203 immediately. If there is objection, 21 votes will be required to present the bill.

(2) I will then call the roll and pursuant to our understanding, expect 15 votes from the Republican caucus. If that vote is not forthcoming, the Senate will proceed no further. Amendments to AB 191, your supplemental bill, will require a majority vote for adoption; waiver of SR 29.3 will require 21.

Therefore, we will not take up your supplemental bill proposing cuts to the budget until and unless you can produce 15 votes on the connected budget bill itself.

Referring to my earlier letter, the directive to you and the Senate Republican caucus was to produce a budget your caucus can support unanimously - not simply a list of cuts to the budget conference report.