Competing budget proposals create missed deadline in Sacramento

Midnight tonight is the deadline for lawmakers in Sacramento to pass a state budget. As usual, they’ll miss the deadline. Republicans and Democrats are still far apart in their ideas on how to solve the state’s $19 billion deficit.

“Let’s get together, Democrats and Republicans. Let’s start negotiating. Let’s get into the meat of it.” Schwarzenegger said.

The governor’s ready to reach agreement on a state budget deal, as long as that deal includes what he wants.

“Doing a budget that is real, that doesn’t rely on borrowing or tax increases, but relies on living within our means - and just like my budget proposal is.”

Schwarzenegger’s budget proposal closes the deficit almost entirely with cuts in state spending. The most discussed and most criticized aspect of that plan is the elimination of Cal-WORKS - the state’s welfare-to-work program. Republican legislators embrace the governor’s budget plan. Democrats reject it.

“We will not be party to devastating children and families. Period.” Said Senate President Pro-Tem Darryl Steinberg (D-Sacramento).

Steinberg proposed a budget that closes the deficit with spending cuts plus tax and fee increases and delays in tax breaks.

Assembly Speaker John Perez (D-LA) is pushing a third plan that borrows billions against the state’s bottle recycling fund, and levies a new tax on oil companies to pay it back.

“We’re not imposing any broad-based tax increases. We’re instead bringing California in line with the national standard for oil companies.” Perez insisted.

Schwarzenegger’s called the Assembly budget plan illegal.

Somehow these three plans must evolve – or devolve - into a budget Republicans and Democrats can agree on. That budgetary metamorphosis could take weeks or even months more to complete.