Recently, Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) said his goal is to strike a final budget deal with Gov. Jerry Brown (D) this week, the Sacramento Bee's "Capitol Alert" reports (Yamamura, "Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 6/18).
Background on Budget Negotiations
On Friday, California Democrats passed a $92.1 billion spending plan for the 2012-2013 fiscal year that includes seven budget bills. Friday was the state constitutional deadline to pass a balanced budget plan.
Lawmakers sent the primary budget legislation (AB 1464) to Gov. Brown, but they did not send most of the more than two dozen trailer bills that include proposals on cutting programs and raising revenue.
Steinberg said, "We did not pass all of [the trailer bills] because we want to finish our negotiations with the governor before we vote on those measures."
Details of Democrats' Spending Plan
The Democrats' spending plan largely matches Brown's $91.4 billion revised FY 2012-2013 budget plan, with a difference of about $300 million in proposed cuts.
The plan would replace some of Brown's proposed cuts to programs for low-income residents with a lower state reserve fund and accounting changes.
The plan also would:
- Accept Brown's overhaul plans for Medi-Cal, California's Medicaid program; and
- Maintain Brown's proposal to cut hours to In-Home Supportive Services beneficiaries by 3.6%.
The Democrats' plan also would incorporate a compromise tax hike plan supported by Brown that would raise the sales tax and increase taxes on high-income earners. Last month, Brown began submitting voter signatures to qualify the measure for the November ballot (California Healthline, 6/18).
Brown has until June 27 to veto, sign or alter the Democrats' main budget bill ("Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 6/18).
CalWORKs Negotiations Continue
On Monday, Democrats continued negotiations with Brown over proposed cuts to CalWORKs, the state's welfare-to-work program (Lin, AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 6/19).
Democrats seek to continue a policy started two years ago that suspends work requirements for welfare beneficiaries, which would save $428 million by requiring the state to provide less child care, transportation and job training for the beneficiaries.
However, Brown wants to reduce the four-year suspension of work requirements to two years, which would save the state $880 million (California Healthline, 6/18).
Steinberg Comments on Negotiations
Steinberg said, "I think even though we have some differences, as have been outlined, that we are working cooperatively with the [Brown] administration in trying to resolve them."
He added that he believes state officials can avoid a budget veto "[s]o long as we're communicating clearly, which I believe we are, and working toward a final agreement together." ("Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 6/18).
On Monday, Capital Public Radio's "KXJZ News" reported on budget negotiations between Brown and Democratic legislators (Quinton, "KXJZ News," Capital Public Radio, 6/18).