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Summary of What Happened on the Budget Wednesday

Budget votes continue today in both the Senate and Assembly. All the up to the minute updates on what is happening are over on Twitter.

Here are two good summaries of what transpired yesterday: Wyatt Buchanan and Marisa Lagos writing in the San Francisco Chronicle, and Kevin Yamamura in the Sacramento Bee.

From the Chronicle:

Lawmakers voted into the evening on a package of bills that make up the budget plan to relieve the state from a $26.6 billion deficit. But they did not take up the measure that will undoubtedly be the most contentious: legislation that will put additional taxes before voters in a June special election. After four attempts – and closed-door meetings between lawmakers and the governor – the Assembly fell just one vote short on a bill that would eliminate the state’s redevelopment program. They will probably reconsider it again today.

But it appears that Democrats don’t yet have the votes in either house to approve the tax extensions and increases proposed by the governor. That measure could be considered as soon as today.

Assembly Democrats, who clearly were having trouble stomaching some of the reductions to health and human service spending, slammed Republican lawmakers for their reluctance to support the cuts. A number of GOP lawmakers said the cuts were targeted at the state’s most vulnerable, instead of the bureaucracy; and they complained that the state should be cutting spending by making pension and other reforms.

“These are contradictions. You can’t get up here and say you are against spending then say these cuts are too painful, too hard,” said Assembly Budget Committee Chairman Bob Blumenfield, D-Woodland Hills (Los Angeles County).

But Assemblywoman Diane Harkey, R-Dana Point (Orange County), a member of the Budget Committee, said Republicans’ suggestions were ignored as the budget was developed and that Democrats were simply forcing Wednesday’s vote for political reasons. She said the governor’s budget will actually increase state spending.

“We were not part of any of the solution here. … Suggestions were made, and suggestions were denied,” she said. “The point of this exercise is to make the most painful cuts for people in our districts, for the needy, so they will be begging for taxes to be increased.”

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