California State Senate budget chair Leno says deep cuts necessary

Mark Leno, California Senate 3rd District (D-San Francisco).
Mark Leno, California Senate 3rd District (D-San Francisco).
The San Francisco Sentinel

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A leading Democratic state senator says that he’s willing to go along with Governor Brown’s deep cuts to social services.

Few people know more about California’s finances than veteran lawmaker Mark Leno. He chairs the state senate budget committee.

“We are in dire straits," says Leno. "We have a severe budget crisis. We know that. We’ve lost about 30 percent of our revenue as a result of the international fiscal crisis.”

Leno, a San Francisco Democrat, has long championed social programs for the poor. Not this year.

Leno says he’s inclined to go along with Governor Brown’s multi-billion dollar cuts to Medi-Cal, CalWORKS and home health care programs. “If someone else has a better suggestion! We’re going to have to find $12 billion in cuts. And we’re trying not to impose any more imposition on K-12 spending, which has taken an inordinate amount of cuts in recent years.”

Leno also says lawmakers must make deep cuts to convince voters to support extending tax increases, a proposal the governor wants the Legislature to place on the June ballot.