It was supposed to be a joke.
But the gag gift -- a sculpture of bull testicles -- from the governor to Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) didn't draw laughs from everyone. The Los Angeles Times reported that it included a note suggesting that lawmakers need to make tough choices to draw down the state's budget deficit.
Steinberg returned the gift and Schwarzenegger apologized, according to the Times. Steinberg's spokeswoman said the two often exchange joke gifts.
She said the Steinberg camp isn't upset. The same can't be said for all lawmakers.
"It's juvenile," one lawmaker told the Times. "The timing is bad."
California's deficit has spiraled as the recession has sent state revenues plummeting to levels not seen since the 1990s.
The state was supposed to agree on a budget by June 15 in order to obtain loans to ensure liquidity over the first half of the fiscal year from July to December. California receives most of its revenues in the second half of the year.
Schwarzenegger said earlier this week he would not allow California to take out additional loans to plug the deficit, and has proposed deep spending cuts across education, healthcare and prison systems instead.