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Budget: One down, three to go

August 31, 2010 | 12:24 pm

State legislators held a marathon of floor "drills" Tuesday morning to make clear they are ready to take action on the budget. Problem is, there is no bipartisan consensus on a spending plan. So Tuesday's debate is pretty much for show. The clock is winding down. The budget is two months overdue. IOUs are around the corner. The legislative session ends at midnight, and nobody wants to leave town without casting a vote on something. In both the Assembly and the state Senate, two competing spending blueprints that stand no chance of mustering the needed two-thirds vote needed for passage are being put up for votes. First come the GOP plans, which cut deep into state spending. Then come the Democratic plans, which would require billions of dollars in tax increases to pencil out.

Shortly before noon, the Assembly cast its first budget vote, on a GOP plan. It went down 25-49. Even some Republicans didn't vote for it. Van Tran of Garden Grove and Anthony Adams of Hesperia did not cast votes. It's likely some Democrats don't vote on that plan when it comes up. Not all of them are eager to appear to support tax hikes with election day around the corner.

Assembly Speaker John Perez (D-Los Angeles) declared the GOP proposal "is not a budget plan that reflects the values of the people of California."

Assemblyman Chuck DeVore (R-Irvine) scoffed at the grim scenarios Democrats warned would befall the state should lawmakers approve the GOP plan, which includes the elimination of the state welfare program, deep cuts to schools and the scaling back of major healthcare programs.

"I hardly think that some modest reforms and reductions will lead to widespread death," DeVore said.

-- Anthony York and Evan Halper in Sacramento