Sine Die — for real this time

The Assembly adjourned today — again — for the last time this legislative session without having passed any kind of interim budget package to address the gaping and growing budget deficit. The Senate will also adjourn momentarily *hopefully*.

The next time we see these guys — on Monday — it will be a new year. Sadly, it will not necessarily mean a new conversation.

We will still face a $28 billion deficit, which seems to be growing. Numbers thrown out today were as high as $34 billion.

We will face a new crop of legislators — and on the Republican side, all but three of them have signed Grover Norquists’ “no tax increase” pledges.

And by the sounds of today, we face a more acrimonious Legislature.

Incoming Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg threw down the gauntlet. He spoke slowly, clearly – and somewhat loudly.

“We need to make a choice. We need to make a series of choices. We are willing to engage you (Republicans) anywhere, any time, in any manner to try to resolve this situation because the alternative of doing nothing is not an option.’’

Outgoing Sen. Sheila Kuehl assailed the past several years of free market policies as a failure and Senate Republican Leader Dave Cogdill complained that raising taxes at a time of economic uncertainty was exactly the opposite of what everyone else was doing.

So in the end (and as expected) there were not enough votes for the $8.1 billion in additional taxes, thus, the $8.1 billion in spending cuts also will not take effect.

See you next year/week.

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