Sacramento's Dem, Republican Leaders Schedule Caucus Meetings to Sell Legislators on Budget Deal

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Cutting billions from health and education while 'borrowing' from local governments -- the California dream!
Some of the haziness surrounding the state's tentative budget deal will burn off this morning, as party leaders have scheduled 9 a.m. caucuses to outline the finer points of a plan that promises not to thrill anyone.

The broader strokes of the pact to stave off California's $26.3 billion shortfall were published late yesterday. Perhaps most concerning to those fortunate enough not to rely on state health and welfare assistance (cut), not work for the state (hefty pay cuts) or not attend school or have school-age children (big-time cuts) are roughly $4 billion in "loans" from local governments -- i.e. "us" -- that the state will ostensibly pay back within three years. Just how that will shake down is a matter of keen interest even to lawmakers. Assemblyman Tom Ammiano told us he was looking forward to learning more at today's 9 a.m. caucus.

"I can't imagine there won't be some pain. But to get the two-thirds [vote necessary for a budget agreement] everybody, including Republicans, is going to have to hold their nose. It's hard to believe San Francisco's not going to feel some of this pain."

How many millions this tentative state budget would bleed from the city's already stripped-down budget is yet to be determined. 

Even if the state budget currently on the table isn't particularly pleasing for anyone, Ammiano stressed that, at this point, something is better than nothing. Sans a budget, "We were running in place, so every day we were losing more money."

While bemoaning Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's "very annoying habit of throwing something new on the table every single time" there's been a protracted negotiation, Ammiano was hopeful that won't occur this time around. The assemblyman anticipated some potential preliminary voting on the state budget by as soon as Wednesday or Thursday.

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