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Besides budget, Steinberg has full plate for lawmakers

January 7, 2013 |  4:46 pm

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, left, shown last June, has a long to-do list for the California Senate before he's termed out of office in two years.Senate leader Darrell Steinberg has only two years left in the Legislature before term limits force him out, and he has a long to-do list he wants to finish before then.

Even with the state's financial situation improving, the Sacramento Democrat told reporters outside the Senate chamber that "we will not lack for a lot of work to do."

Steinberg wants lawmakers to ask voters to revise the California Constitution, making it easier to raise taxes and tweaking the state's ballot initiative process.

He also struck an upbeat tone about the state budget. Gov. Jerry Brown is scheduled to release his new spending plan Thursday morning at the Capitol.

"We are beginning a new era in California. I think it will be a better era," Steinberg said.

The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office, which provides financial advice to lawmakers, has estimated this year's budget deficit at $1.9 billion, significantly smaller than last year's gap of nearly $16 billion.

Steinberg said he wasn't sure how Brown's administration will estimate the deficit.

"It will be a number that will be eminently manageable, given what we've dealt with," he said.

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-- Chris Megerian in Sacramento

twitter.com/chrismegerian

Photo: Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D–Sacramento, left) discusses the state budget with reporters at the Capitol last June. Credit: Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press

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