Democratic leaders in California Legislature willing to cut programs to reform

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File photo: California State Senate President Pro Tem Sen. Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) speaks with reporters before going into caucus to discuss the vote on a solution to the state's budget problem July 23, 2009 in Sacramento, California.

Governor Jerry Brown released the fine details of his budget plan Monday. He wants to cut $12 billion from state spending - and to boost tax revenues by another $12 billion. Democrats in the Legislature say they support the governor’s proposal.

The $12 billion in cuts affects all sectors of government and all the programs Democrats traditionally defend: health, welfare, public education. But Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg says he’ll find the votes to pass Brown’s plan.

"Look, in my caucus there are going to be a lot of questions, a lot of concerns, a lot of suggestions about how to make the cuts in a less harmful way," said Steinberg. "We’ll consider all that. We will work to do that in a very compressed time frame. But in terms of the levels of cuts that he has put forward I am confident that we will step up."

Governor Brown’s asked the Legislature to enact the cuts by March. That’s when he plans to call a special election and ask voters to extend some tax increases set to expire in June.

If Californians reject the tax proposal, state lawmakers will have to cut twice as much as the governor’s planned from the budget.

Full budget document:

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