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With exactly a week to go to the deadline for lawmakers to pass the California State budget, Democratic leaders are saying they are “close” to making a budget deal with Governor Brown.
However, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, and Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez, D-Los Angeles, have made it clear that legislative Democrats disagree with Brown specifically on his cuts to welfare-to-work, Cal Grants, In-Home Supportive Services and child care for low-income families and estimate those differences are approximately $2 billion.
Both leaders suggested that, for the most part, Democrat lawmakers agree with the remainder of Brown's solutions to bridge a $15.7 billion gap. Some policy exceptions include the Governor's plan to restrict wildfire liability and change tree-cutting requirements, as well as dealing with state park closures.
According to reports, Democrats are privately suggesting alternatives to the cuts to buy down as many of them as possible. Steinberg has done this before by suggesting reducing Brown's $1 billion reserve.
It has been pointed out that Legislative Analyst's Office said last month that lawmakers could find $1.9 billion by interpreting the state's school funding requirement differently than Brown did, enough to bridge nearly the entire $2 billion gap dividing Brown and lawmakers.
But Steinberg said that is not being seriously considered because lawmakers don't want to cut schools further, and they believe that it could invite a lawsuit. School groups have not been shy in the past about filing a lawsuit or threatening legal action around the Proposition 98 constitutional requirement.
Negotiations on how to bridge the gap will continue into next week and both leaders assured voters the budget will be completed and passed on time. Famous last words…