In 2004, near the beginning of California’s long budget nightmare, newly elected Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, and most of California’s leaders, offered voters a two-part deal. Approve $15 billion in deficit borrowing to get the state through the budget crisis, the state’s grandees told voters, and then we “tear up the credit card.” Voters took them at their word. They approved both Proposition 57, authorizing the unprecedented borrowing, and Proposition 58, called “The California Balanced Budget Act,” forbidding the state from further deficit borrowing and making it illegal for the Legislature to pass, or the governor to sign, a budget in which spending exceeds revenue.
The budget just passed by the Legislature is plainly illegal and unconstitutional under those provisions.*Update: Gov. Schwarzenegger vows to veto the budget bill; legislators in both parties vow to override the veto.