Tough vote ahead to close CA's $26B gap

July 22, 2009 8:28:56 PM PDT
The hotly debated state budget deal will be voted on, after all, on Thursday. There was some doubt, after the details of the compromise were released, which close a $26 billion budget gap. It appears the budget is on track to pass. Assembly Republicans have decided they will not withhold their vote on Thursday's budget compromise vote. So they, and lawmakers will be voting and approving $1.2 billion cuts to prisons without details spilled out on the bill.

The budget compromise negotiated by these five state leaders is back on track, one day after it was on the verge of collapse.

Assembly Republicans had heard the corrections cuts meant 27,000 inmates were going to be released early, now they won't decide how to reduce prison population until next month to increase the chances the scheduled budget vote goes smoothly.

"We want to do everything we can to make everyone feel comfortable because that component is a very important component in the budget, because otherwise the next choice is early releases and we don't want to do that," said Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, R-California.

Despite the latest change to the budget plan, interest groups still don't like it.

They're even more upset over the governor's latest video on his Twitteraccount, seemingly insensitive to the hardships the spending cuts will have.

"It was outrageous that at this time of incredibly serious cuts, the governor's making light by waving a knife around," said Anthony Wright from Health Access. "You almost wonder if he still thinks he's in a movie."

The governor says he was just trying to add some fun to an otherwise serious job.

"There's other people who say that you've got to have a little humor, and that's me. You sent governor to Sacramento, not 'El Stiffo', like some of the past were. But you sent someone a little more entertaining."

Kids visiting the Capitol also had budget cuts on their mind. One gutsy seventh grader confronted one of the leaders in the hallway about the quality of her education.

"These schools are getting cuts and some of those schools mean a lot to us," said seventh grader Ashante Thrower Wommack.

"That's one of the reason why we fought hard to suspend Proposition 98, and made sure the scarce resources we had could be delivered to the classrooms," said Minority Leader Assm. Sam Blakeslee.

"I don't think it was all there, but at least I got an answer," said Thrower Wommack.

Senate session is scheduled for Thursday at 2:00 p.m., but because some of the 28 bills are still being written, it's unclear if it will start on time.

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