Brown calls Sacramento budget meeting for Wednesday
After weeks of public silence since his election, Gov.-elect Jerry Brown has scheduled a budget briefing in Sacramento on Wednesday, and every member of the Legislature is invited.
Brown spokesman Sterling Clifford said all 118 current lawmakers will be welcome to attend the meeting, along with state constitutional officers and local elected officials from around the state. Brown, Legislative Analyst Mac Brown and Ana Matosantos, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's finance director, will all speak at the event.
"The plan is not to solve the budget deficit in one day," Clifford said. "We want to make sure everyone is operating from the same set of facts. This is not a solve-the-budget meeting. This is a define-the-scope-of-the-problem meeting." Clifford said the meeting will include a historical look at the state's budget.
"We want a discussion at least in part of how we got here," he said. "What kind of smoke and mirrors have been employed in the past? What are the temporary solutions that we've used before and why they won't work this time."
"It's basically going to be a discussion of the nature of the budget problem that the governor and the Legislature are going to confront beginning next month," said H.D Palmer, a spokesman for the Department of Finance. Clifford said Brown would like to hold similar meetings in other parts of the state but no plans have been finalized.
Brown has said addressing the state's budget problem will be his top priority as governor. Numbers provided by Taylor last month indicate the state is facing a $25.4-billion deficit through June 2012.
Schwarzenegger is expected to declare a fiscal emergency Monday and offer his own plans for addressing part of the state's budget problem. The spending plan passed by lawmakers, which extends through June, is more than $6 billion out of whack, according to Taylor.
Brown must unveil his first state spending plan by Jan. 10, just seven days after he takes office for his third term as California governor.
--Anthony York in Sacramento