Democratic lawmakers counter Brown with new budget plan
With two days left before the deadline to approve a state budget, top Democratic lawmakers on Wednesday released an updated spending plan that reduces cuts to social services by recalculating education funding and lowering the reserve fund.
Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) and Assembly Speaker John Perez (D-Los Angeles) are still negotiating with Gov. Jerry Brown, who has pushed for deeper spending cuts.
Overall, Democrats in the Legislature and Brown appear to differ on only a fraction of the governor's $91.4-billion budget proposal.
"We're not only on the same page as the governor, we're in the same paragraph," Perez said.
But so far their negotiations have not produced an agreement on social service spending. Democratic lawmakers want to reduce cuts to welfare, child care, college scholarships, and home care for the elderly and disabled by roughly $1 billion total.
To afford that, they pool school funding from other sources to lighten the load on the state budget. The Democrats' plan includes $150 million less in school funding than Brown's proposal while freeing up about $550 million to spend on things like social services.
Democratic lawmakers also want to reduce the size of the reserve to $544 million, about half the $1 billion Brown wanted.
— Chris Megerian in Sacramento
Photo: Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) and Assembly Speaker John Perez (D-Los Angeles) speaking to reporters in the Capitol on Wednesday. Credit: Chris Megerian / Los Angeles Times