California lawmakers hope to soften some of governor's cuts
Democratic legislators signaled Monday that they will come up with alternatives to some of the deep cuts in social service programs proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown. The governor proposed a revised spending plan for the fiscal year starting July 1 that closes a $16-billion budget gap.
Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) said his colleagues will probably propose lesser cuts to social service programs, the courts and financial aid for university students, calling for a "balance between making necessary cuts, which we will do, and maintaining and preserving essential services for people, especially people most in need.''
"We are not looking for a big public fight over the next month, but we will work assertively with the governor and the Assembly to find some alternatives to the most egregious cuts,'' Steinberg added.
One alternative may be to dip into the state's proposed reserve fund for next year, Steinberg said, noting it is referred to as the state's rainy-day fund. "It's raining," Steinberg said.
Steinberg and Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), the budget committee chairman, agreed the deeper deficit shows the need for tax increases proposed by the governor for the November ballot this year.
"We will not have the resources we need to put California back on its feet without the revenues that the governor is proposing in his November ballot initiative," Leno said.
-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento