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Democrats plan budget vote as Brown demands cuts

Posted: June 13, 2012 2:39 p.m.
Updated: June 13, 2012 3:30 p.m.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - Democratic legislative leaders announced Wednesday that they plan to move forward with their proposal to address California's $15.7 billion deficit even though Gov. Jerry Brown hasn't signed off on the plan.

Assembly Speaker John Perez, D-Los Angeles, and Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, said the Legislature will vote ahead of its Friday constitutional deadline to pass a balanced budget, while continuing talks with the Brown administration.

The leaders said they have come up with a plan that meets Brown's criteria for a structurally balanced budget, but makes smaller cuts to welfare programs than the governor proposed.

Democrats refused to cut an additional $1.2 billion on programs for the poor, particularly the welfare-to-work program CalWORKS, childcare, In-Home Supportive Services, Healthy Families and Medi-Cal.

Perez suggested the differences with Brown's $91.4 billion state spending plan were small.

"We're not only on the same page, we're in the same paragraph," Perez said.

The governor on Tuesday demanded more tough cuts from fellow Democrats and suggested their plan was "not structurally balanced."

"Last year, legislators enacted major reforms that cut spending on prisons and eliminated redevelopment," Brown said. "This year, we need additional structural reforms to cut spending on an ongoing basis, including welfare reform that's built on President Clinton's framework and focused on getting people back to work."

Brown's plan relies on voters in November agreeing to increase the statewide sales tax by a quarter cent for four years and boosting the income tax on people who make more than $250,000 a year for seven years. Democrats approve of that portion of the governor's proposal.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.


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