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State Budget Negotiations Enter Final Phase

June 11, 2014

Democratic legislators and Gov. Jerry Brown continued to hammer out the final details of a state budget bill this week, with the Legislature facing a Sunday (June 15) deadline for approving a budget that will then go to the Governor.

With state revenues running somewhat higher than anticipated, many Democratic legislators want to put more money into social programs. California Senate President Pro Tem Darrell SteinbergĀ (D- Sacramento) has been pushing to fund a $378 million preschool program for children of low-income families, which a scaled-down version of his original legislation that would have funded transitional kindergarten for all California four year-olds. Steinberg’s original plan got a cool response from the Governor, who wants a more cautious approach to new state spending. Brown wants to see a budget bill more along the lines of his May Budget Revision.

“The truth is there are many good ideas in health care, in schooling, environment, in prison reform, in court expansion. But we only have so much money,” Brown said at a news conference last month.

It is impossible to say when a budget deal will be reached, but all parties are expressing confidence that Sunday’s constitutional deadline for passage of a state budget will be met. “We always find a way and will again,” Sen. Steinberg told reporters. “We are going to make some good solid investments in kids, in infrastructure and some other key areas.”

The new Democratic leader in the California Assembly, Speaker Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), downplayed any differences between legislators and the Governor regarding the budget. “We feel pretty good about the expenditures we are talking about falling within the conservative (revenue) projection. But we have to be careful, and we will be,” she told reporters on Monday.

Whatever form the final budget bill ultimately takes, there remains a possibility that the Governor will follow his past practice and use his line-item veto authority to reject some aspects of the budget bill.

Source:  Edbrief staff