Controller sued over docking legislative pay

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, Jan. 27, 2012 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

This week, California’s democratic legislative leaders sued State Controller John Chiang for blocking their pay during last year's budget dispute.  Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg and Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez said that the controller, a fellow democrat, overstepped his bounds when he decided that lawmakers sent Governor Jerry Brown an unbalanced budget last June and docked their pay.

Chiang was exercising authority he believes was provided to him by voters when they approved Proposition 25, a constitutional amendment, in 2010. That law punishes lawmakers who fail to pass a budget by the constitutional deadline of June 15.

The dispute pivots on whether the controller can declare the Legislature's budget unsound. Democrats passed a majority budget by the deadline last year, but Chiang said that the proposal was not balanced as is constitutionally required and therefore refused to issue lawmakers' paychecks.  Democratic Governor Brown later vetoed the budget, siding with Chiang.  Win or lose, Senator Steinberg and Speaker Perez have indicated they are not suing for any back earnings, rather are asking the court whether the Controller can intervene this year if lawmakers face another budget dispute with Brown at the June 15 deadline.

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