Capitol Alert
The latest on California politics and government
June 18, 2012

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, defended the Legislature’s deadline passage of a main budget bill Friday without most of the implementing language, responding to critics who suggested lawmakers had rushed through a plan to maintain their pay.

“You know what?” Steinberg said. “I gotta tell you, I work about 15 hours a day. And we passed a budget that is balanced in the budget year, the second year, the third year and with a surplus in the fourth year. So we’re doing our work. And we’re going to continue doing our work.”

“I’m going to stand up for the people who get elected to these offices, who work hard, and who do the very best by the people,” Steinberg added. “And I know it’s not popular. And I know that it’s easy as heck to take the shots. But I’m proud of what we did on Friday. And we’ll finish the job now.”

Legislative Democrats and Gov. Jerry Brown largely disagree over how to treat the state’s welfare-to-work program, CalWORKs. The governor wants to remake CalWORKs by imposing harsher consequences for parents who do not find a job or seek training. Brown wants to reduce grants and cut off child care and other assistance for those parents.

Democrats believe those consequences are too severe in the midst of 10.8 percent unemployment. They instead want to save money by continuing to provide full cash aid to parents of young children without requiring them to work or seek training. The state saves money by not paying for their child care, transportation or education.

Steinberg said his goal is to strike a budget deal with Brown this week. Last year, Brown swiftly vetoed Democrats’ first budget the morning after they passed it on the constitutional deadline, but he has let the latest budget bill simmer since Friday.

Brown has until Wednesday, June 27, to sign or veto the main budget legislation, Assembly Bill 1464.

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