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Darrell Steinberg vows to reverse Gov. Schwarzenegger's 'miguided, cruel' vetoes

October 13, 2010 |  1:44 pm

This much is clear: Senate leader Darrell Steinberg is counting the days until the end of what he derided Wednesday as the “experiment” of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s governorship.

Steinberg (D-Sacramento) said his first action once a new governor was sworn in January would be to attempt to reverse the nearly $1 billion in “unconscionable” spending vetoes Schwarzenegger made to the state budget on Friday.

Flanked by program advocates and effected parents at a day-care center playground in Sacramento, Steinberg said the vetoes would cause more than 700 child-abuse investigators to be laid off or have their positions unfilled and that day care for more than 60,000 families with working parents would be eliminated.

“The governor’s vetoes were misguided, cruel, unnecessary and preventable,” Steinberg said.

Aaron McLear, a Schwarzenegger spokesman, said the vetoes were “painful but necessary to provide a responsible reserve for emergencies,” as required by the state Constitution.

Steinberg dismissed that rationale, saying, “We all know we’re going to have budget challenges next year.”

The largest veto that Steinberg criticized was $256 million from child-care programs for parents formerly on welfare who were working but not earning enough to afford day care. Alicia Trost, a Steinberg spokeswoman, said Democrats believed they could reverse that cutback on a majority vote; the others would likely require two-thirds support, she said, and thus support from Republicans.

Assembly Speaker John A. Perez (D-Los Angeles) issued a statement Wednesday saying his house would also seek to reverse the cut. "It is not in the state’s economic or moral interests to force parents back onto welfare or to force parents to leave their kids in vulnerable situations," Perez said.

The gubernatorial campaigns of Jerry Brown and Meg Whitman did not immediately return calls for comment on their positions on the vetoes.

 -- Shane Goldmacher in Sacramento