California Controller John Chiang, a Democrat, has angered the Democratic-controlled Legislature by stripping legislators of their salary and per diem after concluding that the budget-balancing bill sent to the governor was a sham. The controller pays the bills and under Proposition 25, passed last November by voters, legislators permanently lose their pay if they don't meet their constitutional duty of sending a balanced budget bill to the governor by June 15.
The Dems hobbled together a gimmicky bill eight hours before the deadline and thought they were in the clear even after Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed it the next morning. But Chiang, a budding populist and perhaps gubernatorial contender, concluded that the bill's numbers did not add up. Assembly Speaker John Perez was furious and told Chiang that he empowered Republicans, who only have enough power to halt tax increases (which require a two-thirds vote). It's getting even nuttier in Sacramento than I had predicted in City Journal.