California lawmakers have passed a budget that eliminates the state’s ten billion dollar deficit just in time for the new fiscal year which starts Friday. Democrats pushed the plan through without Republican support.
Thanks to a new law recently approved by voters, this year marks the first time Democrats can pass a spending plan without Republican support. But they couldn’t pass tax extensions without the GOP, and Democratic Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg says his party didn’t get the budget that it really wanted.
“You have missed emotions when a budget is done – one is obviously relief and there’s a certain amount of satisfaction but I must tell you, there’s no joy in making the kind of cuts that we made to higher education or even public education. They’re entitled to more money,” said Steinberg.
The plan crafted by Democrats relies on four billion dollars in new revenue projections as well as cuts to higher education and the courts and new DMV and fire-fighting fees. If the revenue doesn’t show up, new cuts will be triggered, including a shortened public school year. Republicans had pushed for changes to pensions and state regulations as part of a budget deal. Senate GOP Leader Bob Dutton says those ideas aren’t dead.
“We won’t give up the fight,” said Dutton. “As a matter of fact, this will make us more determined than ever. The future of California depends on us. Depends on the Senate Republicans to finish what we’ve started and we will finish what we’ve started. We will do everything possible to get this state going in the right direction again.”
This is the second majority-vote plan that Democrats have passed this month. The first one was vetoed by Governor Jerry Brown. This time, he’s expected to sign the package, giving California a budget in time for the new fiscal year – something that’s happened only five other times over the past two decades.