California State Assembly Budget Battle

Sacramento, Calif. A flurry of side talks and last-minute cajoling is in the works in the Assembly which has been in a marathon session since 8:00pm Thursday night. Leaders are trying to wrangle up the votes on the remaining ten bills.

They are major, but controversial components of the budget package to close that $26 billion deficit, so passage is crucial to make the rest of the plan work; without them the entire compromise could collapse.

The lower house is stuck on difficult issues; whether to repay public schools back for all the cuts they've had to endure, allowing off-shore oil drilling and raiding local government money.

"I want to make sure local governments have the resources to keep our cops and firefighters on the streets, and I want to make sure that we have the public resources to do the work our local governments are charged with," said Assembly member Anthony Adams (R) Hesperia.

"Some of the Republicans don't want to go up on that. They don't support the repayment of education funds," said Assembly member Tony Mendoza (D) Artesia.

"How do you feel about that?"

"I support it, obviously, as a former school teacher. Our kids deserve and depend on this money. We took it away and we need to give it back," said Mendoza.

"What's wrong with oil drilling off California is that it threatens a $40 billion a year industry. Recreational fishing, commercial fishing, tourism. Visitors serving all of those services depend on clean beaches and beautiful vistas," said Assembly member Padro Nava (D) Santa Barbara.

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