Tentative budget deal reached

September 18, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
It looks like we may finally have a deal on the state budget. A compromise worked out late Thursday means the governor won't need to flex his veto muscle and lawmakers won't be forced into an over-ride vote.

The round and round for 80 days at the state capitol could be coming to an end, not soon enough for taxpayers like Steve Green.

"I think it's a terrible job. All of them. I don't care what side of the aisle they're on. Terrible," said Steve Green, from Sacramento.

Lawmakers, who took a lot of heat for the late budget, weren't thrilled either.

"I'm glad it's over. I don't think any of us are going to put this on a highlight reel. It's 80 days late. Real people are getting hurt," said State Senator Don Perata (D) of Oakland.

"I can tell you I am happy that this grief will come to an end. This is not a budget that, I believe, we are all celebrating. The good part of the budget is that there were much deeper cuts to education," said Karen Bass (D) of Los Angeles, the Assembly speaker.

The speaker says those more severe cuts were averted.

The tentative budget deal includes tighter control over the state's rainy day fund, something Governor Schwarzenegger demanded. He also got his way on the extra 10 percent accelerated income tax withholding, which is now gone. To make up for that lost revenue, there will be a double penalty for corporations that don't report all their earnings. And budget negotiators removed the tax amnesty program, all plans which are designed to close California's $15 billion budget gap.

"Now's the point in time to close it up. I'm glad we came to an agreement with the governor. I think he's feeling good about the reform that he was able to negotiate. I think the Democrats came a long way to give him everything he wanted at this point," said Senator Dave Cogdill, the Senate Republican leader.

The breakthrough came after the governor threatened a veto on Friday of the budget that lawmakers approved earlier in the week.

"But it appears that we have an agreement. We'll know a lot more in the morning when the Big 4 meet with the governor. I'm sure he will announce either we have an agreement or he is going to veto the budget, but it appears we have an agreement," said Aaron McLear, the Governor's press secretary.

So the governor meets with legislative leaders in the morning to work out deal points. Then it goes to a vote, first in the Senate and then in the Assembly Friday afternoon.


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