Democrats criticize Republican budget plan
Democrats spent Thursday afternoon criticizing and dismissing an alternative budget plan that Republicans say would eliminate the need for trigger cuts to schools if Gov. Jerry Brown's tax plan fails in November.
Brown’s Department of Finance said Republicans overestimated some money-saving proposals and called others legally impossible. That includes a suggestion to divert $1.33 billion from mental healthcare, the biggest line item in the Republican's plan.
"These proposals just don’t add up to an honest budget," said Gil Duran, a spokesman for Brown. "Efforts to work with Republicans in a bipartisan manner have generally not been productive."
But Republicans said several of their ideas were used by Democrats just last year to balance the state's books. They said funding should be shifted to protect schools and colleges, which would lose more than $5 billion if voters don't approve Brown's plan to raise taxes.
“We don’t want to use kids as political pawns in this state budget,” said Sen. Bill Emmerson (R-Hemet), the top Republican on the Senate budget committee. “We want to avoid teacher layoffs.”
Democrats and Republicans sparred over whose plan would benefit the state in the long run.
Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) touted Brown's plan to raise taxes, saying, "We believe that California needs revenue. We believe that’s a better solution than one-time solutions.”
Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar) countered by saying Brown is putting California on an "unsustainable trajectory" of spending increases.
PHOTO: Assembly Republican leader Connie Conway (R-Tulare), right, confers with Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) in the Capitol earlier this year. CREDIT: Rich Pedroncelli /Associated Press
–- Chris Megerian in Sacramento