Lawmakers prepare for Tuesday budget vote with no deal in place
Both the Senate and Assembly budget committees have announced plans to vote on a budget plan Tuesday, even though both sides acknowledge that negotiations between top Democrats and Gov. Jerry Brown are ongoing.
For weeks, legislative Democrats have balked at some of Brown’s spending cut proposals, including reductions to welfare, in-home care, financial aid and child care. The Assembly Budget Committee released a document Monday afternoon reflecting smaller cuts in those areas and a budget reserve slightly more than half the size of the $1.1-billion cushion Brown proposed in his plan.
Both Assembly and Senate Democratic sources confirm that the new plan has not been agreed to by Brown. But they say they must approve a budget in the two committees by Tuesday if lawmakers are to meet their June 15 constitutional deadline to pass a spending plan.
Under new rules passed by voters in 2010, lawmakers will not get paid after June 15 until a budget is passed.
Democrats want to prevent half of Brown’s $1.2-billion cut to Medi-Cal, the state’s healthcare program for the poor. They are also seeking to punch holes in the governor’s plan to reduce healthcare coverage for poor children, reducing savings from $48.6 million to $7.3 million.
Lawmakers also want much smaller cuts in the state’s welfare program, suggesting more than $300 million in reductions as opposed to the $880-million cut suggested by Brown. They also rejected the governor’s call to reduce hours for in-home care workers by 7, and restored some of the money that had been eliminated from the state’s college financial aid program.
Assembly Budget Committee Chairman Bob Blumenfield (D-Woodland Hills), downplayed the differences between Brown and his fellow Democrats. “Overall, the Legislature's budget diverges from the governor's plan by less than 1% of the total spending,” he said in a statement. But differences between the parties remain.
Brown spokesman Gil Duran did not comment on the specifics of the latest legislative counteroffer, except to say that "discussions are ongoing." Sources in both the Assembly and Senate also say the plan that is voted on Tuesday in the Senate and Assembly Budget Committees may be different from the outline released Monday.
Brown met with Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) and Senate leader Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) Monday morning, and more talks were expected this evening, Capitol sources confirmed.
-- Anthony York and Chris Megerian in Sacramento
Photo: Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez, left, Gov. Jerry Brown and Sen. Darrell Steinberg are still hammering out details of a budget plan, sources say. Credit: Bryan Patrick / Sacramento Bee