State Democratic Leaders Say Deal is Near

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(Sacramento, CA)
Monday, December 29, 2008

The state Senate’s top Democrat Darrell Steinberg says it’s getting down to the “nitty gritty details” of a budget deal with the Governor.  

It’s time now to close this negotiation to achieve an 18-billion dollar or so solution here to go into the New Year with some wind at our back and to set the tone for the rest of the year.”

Steinberg and Assembly Speaker Karen Bass held a two-hour meeting on the day after Christmas with the Governor. Schwarzenegger has been out of the state and joined them via video conference.  Democrats have put forth a plan to raise taxes and cut spending. They say they can do it with only a majority vote—no Republican support needed. Schwarzenegger has been pushing for more in the plan. He wants exemptions from environmental regulations for construction projects to help stimulate the economy.   Republican legislative leaders have not been part of recent negotiations. They’ve said the Democrats’ plan to approve tax increases on a majority vote is unconstitutional.  They and taxpayer groups have said they will sue if it moves forward.