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On a mostly party-line vote, the Legislature sent Governor Jerry Brown a $92.1 billion spending plan Friday without a deal on welfare cuts.
Lawmakers faced a Friday deadline to pass the budget in order to avoid losing their pay and expense money. This is the second budget lawmakers passed using their new majority-vote authority under Proposition 25, making it a much quicker process.
The Legislature passed the main budget bill, AB 1464; however, did not take up the bulk of more than two dozen "trailer" bills that include the details of how the programs will be cut, revenues raised, and carry out the expenditures.
Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg said that is because legislative Democrats and Brown still must resolve "small but important differences."
Democratic leaders in the Legislature contend that they satisfied the Proposition 25 requirement by sending AB 1464. Last year, Controller John Chiang cited their failure to pass all of the revenue-related trailer bills by the June 15 deadline as one reason to dock their pay, but his power to interpret their budget was curtailed by a Sacramento Superior Court decision in April.
Senator Mark Leno, chair of the Senate Budget Committee, said Brown would sign the main budget bill and all related bills before the July 1 start of the next fiscal year. The Democrats' budget relies on cuts to courts, counties and state workers, along with an $8.5 billion November tax hike on sales and high-income earners. It also includes funds from now-defunct redevelopment agencies, borrowing from special funds and extending cuts to in-home care, child care and welfare job training.
Leno said the Democrats' budget is almost identical with Brown's--saying it was an honestly balanced budget that includes serious cuts to state programs across the board.
Republicans in both houses attacked the Democratic with the usual arguments about lack of transparency and that Democrats were foolish to assume voters will pass higher taxes on sales and upper-income earners and that the plan is not balanced.
It is unclear whether the Governor will sign or veto the budget at this point. Expect work on the details and trailer bills to continue over the next couple of weeks.