Governor-elect Jerry Brown hits the ground running


Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger posted a picture on his Twitter account of him and Brown flying back to Sacramento from an officer's funeral. They talked about, among other things, the upcoming transition.

Later in the day, Brown walked the halls of his old stomping grounds, the Capitol, laying the groundwork for reigning in government costs.

First stop was the finance department.

"A good meeting, but a very sobering meeting," Brown said. "I think what we face is as bad as anyone could imagine and it's going to take a lot of tough decisions."

Then it was off to see legislative leaders and lawmakers. Brown has to start putting the budget together, ideally by mid December, so he can present his budget publically on time January 10.

"It's daunting; it's certainly as bad as it ever has been," Brown said. "It's going to take the Democratic Party and the Republican Party to get out of their comfort zone and no one's predilection is going to be satisfied."

But because the state's finances are so bad, Democrats may be in for a surprise. A Democratic governor does not necessarily mean their prized social programs will be spared the budget axe.

"He's very unorthodox; he's a different kind of Democrat," Democratic strategist Steve Maviglio said. "I think he's going to look at what's best for the state first rather than what's best for the interest groups. After the euphoria is over, there's going to be a reality checks for a lot of Democrats, interest groups in particular, who are expecting the moon."

The budget process will be a little different this time around. Voters this week approved a majority vote budget, meaning no Republican votes will be needed to pass one. But voters also approved measures making it harder to enact new fees and borrow from local government.

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