Abel Maldonado: Republicans Urged “Bankruptcy” for California


State Senator Abel Maldonado says that during the epic budget battle in Sacramento, some of his fellow Republicans urged him to withhold his vote so that the stalemate would bankrupt California.

“It was ‘Abel – let it go into bankruptcy, let it go off a cliff, we need to prove a point, that it’s the majority’s fault,’” he said in an interview, to be published Thursday in the Santa Barbara Independent.

Maldonado’s decisive vote on the budget deal last month thrust him into the state and national political spotlight. After two other senate Republicans signed on to the budget, Maldonado played hardball with the governor and the Democrats who needed his vote to get the two-thirds needed to pass it.

He got what he wanted: removal of a 12 cent per gallon gas tax increase from the plan, plus necessary approvals to put two pet political reforms on the ballot.

One is a measure, to come before voters next year, to revamp elections so that the top two finishers in a primary election – rather than the winner from each party – face off in the general election.

The second is Proposition 1F on the May 19 special election ballot. It would forbid the Citizens Compensation Commission, which sets salaries for legislators and statewide officeholders, from awarding pay raises in years when the state is in deficit.

Maldonado has been excoriated for his vote on the budget by doctrinaire, anti-tax Republicans because it includes $15 billion in higher taxes. Although a right-wing recall effort against him fizzled, the California Republican Party voted formally to deny him financial or any other political support. And most other Sacramento Republicans are giving him the cold shoulder.

Last month’s GOP convention was nasty, he said. “It wasn’t pretty,” he added. “There was a lot of shouting and a lot of insults. People were yelling at me, calling me a sell-out and stuff like that. I took my wife and maybe I shouldn’t have.”

The 41-year old Maldonado, born and raised in Santa Maria the son of immigrant farmers, was first elected to the senate to represent a long swath of the Central Coast in 2004, and re-elected in 2008, after three Assembly terms.

He said his vote on the budget allowed him to wrangle reforms that do not carry personal benefit for him but “are about California.” He also expressed regret that in the past he signed a “no new taxes” pledge, saying that Republican orthodoxy on the issue “is an irrational position.”

“I regret signing” the pledge, he said. “I regret not having a couple of words added – ‘unless there’s an emergency.’ We have a fiscal emergency in our state. People want ideas and solutions, not political positions.”

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There are 11 comments for this post

  1. avatar Anonymous says:

    Atta boy Abel. We need people who understand that orthodoxy is not the solution — we need to compromise and work together.

  2. avatar Anonymous says:

    Thanks, Abel, for having the guts to stand up and say enough is enough. Just imagine how few California GO would have been bought by private investors if California’s “finest” had not finally passesd a budget.

  3. avatar Anonymous says:

    Might I suggest that Abel is in the wrong party? Just a thought….

  4. avatar Anonymous says:

    While the budget debate was occurring, I sensed that at least some of the Republicans were acting like kamikazi and I was right. Incredibly scarey people; I hope most voters have learned something from this. We were on the brink and didn’t even realize it. It’s time to dump the 2/3 requirement and pay more attention all the way around. Also, the whack-jobs in question need to be identified and voted out (maybe recalled).

  5. avatar Anonymous says:

    Lying whore. That does not apply to every Republican who voted for tax increases, but perfectly describes Sen. Maldonado.

  6. avatar Anonymous says:

    Oh sure, orthodoxy isn’t the solution, we just need to compromise and work together on continuing to bankrupt the state. You morons.

  7. avatar Anonymous says:

    It’s too bad Abel’s account is not verified. This is simply a “he said” story, and in this case, he can say anything he wants. Are there no skeptics out there? And why didn’t calbuzz attempt to verify his assertions? There’s an old saying: “Don’t believe everything you read.” That goes doubly for calbuzz.

  8. avatar Anonymous says:

    And for such sgraight thinking and refusals to bow down, this gentleman of the Grand Old Party was pillaried for voting with a majority to pass a budget — already eight monthslate, due to “Republi-can’t” intransigence. Then along came State Senator Roy Ashburn – holding out until a swing vote (NOT HIS) was cast, then ROY attempted to portray himself in his HOMETOWN NEWSPAPER “The Bakersfield Californian” as a hero for voting AYE! “B**L S**T” — with a much stronger message to follow on May 13th!!!

  9. avatar Anonymous says:

    just think how much in debt we would be and/or how much higher our taxes, fees, etc. would be if there was only a simple majority required to pass the budget.
    At one point are they actually going to address the bloat factor? maybe we need to return to the bare basics? or…
    let’s be more environmental and reduce costs and waste by only printing things in English since that is the official language of our state;
    and lets enforce the immigration laws, stop benefits for anyone here illegally, stop wire transfers of money out of state/country of anyone who has used state benefits until they have reimbursed the state – us.
    let’s reduce regulation; reduce the size of the government; make it a part time legislature so they don’t have to partake in ‘busy work’ and ‘job justification’ stuff.
    has anyone figured out the cost/benefits to the state if we didn’t take fed. money and stopped the programs the fed requires but doesn’t fund? maybe the state would be better off – maybe we would be better off.
    If government is so good at ‘taking care of us’ then why are there so many non-profits. If government was run like a business – or even a business-style non-profit – the efficiency, the lack of bloat…….. a pipe dream.
    thank goodness for the 2/3 requirement.
    and lets do away with the laws which mandate a certain percentage to particular departments, no matter what – free up the ability to really figure out a budget.

  10. avatar Anonymous says:

    What part of Republican philosophy says “help the Democrats spend this state into catastrophe”? The Democrats who believe there is absolutely no relation between their spending desires and the state’s economy are certifiably insane. They are literally crazed with greed, and anyone who supports them, like Maldonado, is just complicit in their cause.

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