Tomorrow’s constitutional deadline to pass a state budget is fast approaching but Governor Jerry Brown and Democratic lawmakers remain deadlocked over how to cut state welfare to fill a $15.7 billion deficit. The governor wants to save an estimated $880 million by ending the welfare-to-work program, Cal Works, after two years instead of four. Cal Works currently provides childcare and job training programs for low income parents. Democratic lawmakers oppose those cuts and would rather suspend work requirements for parents with small children until the economy recovers, since it costs more to provide those parents with job training and childcare than it does just to pay them cash grants. Still, Governor Brown says he’ll only accept a proposal that focuses “on getting people back to work.”
Is a resolution in sight? And what happens if one isn’t?
Darrell Steinberg, state senator (D-Sacramento); president pro-tempore of the California State Senate; member of the Big 5 leadership group on the budget
Jim Nielsen, California state assemblyman (R-Gerber); vice chair of the Assembly Budget Committee
Joe Mathews, California editor of Zocalo Public Square; author of 'The People’s Machine: Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Rise of Blockbuster Democracy' and 'California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How we Can Fix It'