Steinberg ready to end Calif. budget talks


"We made the presentation to the governor as far as we felt was necessary in order to restore California and help create jobs. And he's going to think about it and get back to us," Senate Minority Leader Bob Dutton, R-Rancho Cucamonga, said.

Democrats are becoming increasingly frustrated, threatening to end negotiations and put the special election to extend some temporary taxes up for a floor vote, a proposal that Republicans refuse to support without an overhaul in government operations.

"If these guys don't start moving and moving fast, I'm prepared to pull the plug," Senate President Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, said. "If the vote isn't there, then we are going to consider the other pathways."

Parents and teachers are glad to hear other pathways are being considered to get the tax extensions on the ballot. Tens of thousands of pink slips went out to California teachers earlier this month and voter approval to pay the higher tax rates for five more years could save those jobs. Otherwise, public schools could see the budget axe for another $5 billion, a funding cut they can hardly afford.

"Definitely, they should have a special election. If they're going to take everything away, we should have a right to say, 'Hey, wait a minute," concerned parent Sabrina Fritz said.

"The one thing I feel like sometimes, I'm letting kids move on to the next level that didn't get everything they needed to with me," fifth grade teacher Marc DeVore said.

One Republican involved in earlier negotiations isn't ready to give up hope.

"It's possible anytime for these guys to finally come to a consensus and I think the consensus is getting closer all the time," St. Sen. Tom Berryhill, R-Modesto, said.

The governor's office says there are 53 items on the list of demands from Republicans. They're likely to include changes to public pensions, environmental laws, and government spending.

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