Will State Lawmakers Lose Their Pay?

By: Rich Rodriguez

Do state lawmakers deserve to be paid for passing a budget that was vetoed the next day? State Assembly members and Senators make 95-thousand a year. You also have to factor 142 dollar per diem. It breaks down to just over 500 dollars a day.

Hanford Republican Assemblyman David Valadao says Proposition 25 spells it out clearly... no budget, no pay.

Wednesday{}lawmakers forwarded a budget to the Governor. A day later Governor Brown rejected the spending plan with the swipe of his veto pen. So now there is a sub-plot in the budget battle, should lawmakers get paid?

State Controller John Chiang is reviewing the rejected budget. He said "I remain resolute in my commitment to enforcing the public's will to permanently withhold legislative pay for every day a balanced budget is not passed after Wednesday's deadline."

Assemblyman Valadao. "No{}I don't think we deserve to get paid as a body. There's a lot of room for us to do our job and we should have."

This is Assemblyman{}Valadao's first budget battle in Sacramento. Thursday he had a clear view on the Assembly floor of how tempers can flare. But it had nothing to do with pay.

"If John Chiang does what he's supposed to do and sticks with his word and does not pay us,{}I think it will push a few people to move a little faster," said Assemblyman Valadao.

Controller Chiang said "I will move quickly to complete our analysis of whether the budget bills passed Wednesday meet the constitutional definition or fall short, which would require my office to forfeit their pay under Proposition 25. We are awaiting the final budget bill language before we begin our examination."

If Controller Chiang rules to halt pay, legislative staff members will also work for nothing until the budget is passed. Staff members will{} get retroactive pay, but lawmakers won't.

Lastly, we asked Fresno Democratic Assemblyman Henry T. Perea for an interview, but his office turned down our request.