The Senate - in a session that lasted just over two hours - approved a new budget for California today. They immediately sent the bill to the Assembly, which made even quicker work of the matter.
Whether the budget is truly balanced – as is constitutionally required – is a matter of wide conjecture. Democrats contend it is and that it makes real and significant cuts.
Republicans say it is nowhere near balanced nor does it make enough tangible cuts. In fact, they boycotted hearings earlier in the week in protest.
Attempts by Republican lawmakers to introduce some amendments that would have restricted funding for abortion where tabled and not even debated.
Most non-partisan observers point out that the budget assumes that voters will pass a temporary tax increase in November, which is far from certain. The fiscal plan also borrows money from several special funds, including one designed to help homeowners caught in foreclosure.
Legislative Democrats did not make all the cuts that Governor Jerry Brown proposed, but they did reduce funding for in-home care, child care and welfare training programs.
The budget carries the broad outline of spending. The legislature still needs to pass several “trailer” bills which spell out all the details.
Governor Brown has not indicated if he will sign or veto the budget.
(See Public Policy Insights for details.)