Democrats Might Delay Budget Work Until Brown Takes Office
Democratic legislators have said they might delay efforts to close California's budget deficit until Gov.-elect Jerry Brown (D) takes office, according to sources in the Capitol, the Contra Costa Times reports.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) recently announced plans to convene a special legislative session on Dec. 6 to encourage lawmakers to address the $6 billion shortfall for the current fiscal year. According to a Legislative Analyst's Office report, California is expected to face a $25.4 billion deficit over the next 18 months.
Democrats Wary of Possible Cuts
Alicia Trost -- spokesperson for Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg (D- Sacramento) -- said many Democrats prefer to work with Brown on budget plans. She said Democrats would consider Schwarzenegger's proposals, but likely would reject them if they included:
- The elimination or severe funding cuts to the state's In-Home Supportive Services Program; or
- The elimination of CalWORKS, California's welfare-to-work program.
Assembly Speaker John PÃ©rez (D-Los Angeles) said, "Assembly Democrats believe working with the new governor offers the best path to responsible deficit reduction" (Harmon, Contra Costa Times, 11/16).
Brown Gets To Work on Budget
On Tuesday, Brown returned to Sacramento after a brief vacation and met with officials from the state Department of Finance.
Brown said Schwarzenegger's planned special legislative session would be a great opportunity to address California's budget deficit.
The governor-elect declined to offer suggestions on closing the budget gap, but said he would be ready to discuss the issue when he takes office on Jan. 3 (Young, AP/San Jose Mercury News, 11/16).
Headlines and links to editorial coverage on the planned special budget session are provided below.
- "California Lawmakers Need To Make Hard Budget Choices" (Contra Costa Times, 11/15).
- "Budget Urgency" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 11/16).
- "Don't Pass the Blame" (Stockton Record, 11/17).
Headlines and links to broadcast coverage on Brown's and Schwarzenegger's efforts to address the budget gap are provided below.
- "California's Governor-Elect Jerry Brown Begins Work on State Budget" (Small, "KPCC News," KPCC, 11/16).
- "Governor Says Special Session Will Focus on Cuts" (Lieszkovszky, "KXJZ News," Capital Public Radio, 11/12).