Democratic legislative leaders relieved by Gov. Brown’s budget


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Democratic leaders in the California Senate said Thursday that they were breathing a sigh of relief because the governor’s budget proposal does not include the deep cuts that have been required in recent years.

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) said he supports the governor’s call for fiscal discipline, including the building of a rainy day fund and paying down the state debt. But he also suggested that Democrats would look for ways to restore funding to some programs previously cut.


‘Whatever differences we may have they are small differences by degree,’ Steinberg said, calling the framework of the governors budget ‘solid.’

‘He made a good start on reinvesting or suggesting that we reinvest in education and higher education,’ Steinberg told reporters at the Capitol. ‘I would only add that we cannot forget and we won’t forget mental health [programs], dental care and subsistence for the elderly and disabled as the year progresses. There may be an opportunity through the implementation of the Affordable Care Act to address these kinds of issues.’

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) also was pleased that the new budget ends a period of massive reductions to state programs.

‘It is a breath of fresh air right now,’ Leno added. ‘We have turned the corner.’

Both said they will pursue big policy issues, including a proposal to give local governments the ability to raise parcel taxes by a 55% vote. They also vowed to look at reducing some tax credits to bring in more revenue.


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-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento

Photo: State Sen. President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D–Sacramento), left, and Sen. Mark Leno (D-Sacramento) at a news conference last year.Credit: Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press