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Lawmakers Risk Losing Pay Ahead Of Vote On Calif. Budget Deficit

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Lawmakers in Sacramento were scrambling on Wednesday to patch together a state budget proposal ahead of a deadline for the legislature to pass a new fiscal plan.

KNX 1070's Ed Mertz reports Democratic leaders in the state Assembly and Senate are confident they can reach a deal despite a $500 million gap in negotiations thus far.


"Neither the Speaker nor I nor our colleagues are looking for a fight with the governor," said State Senate president pro tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) ahead of a schedule vote in Sacramento on Friday.

"But we will not shy from a fight if it is necessary to stand for the middle class, the poor, and the struggling Californians who have already taken a huge burden of past budget decisions," he added.

If lawmakers fail to approve measures to close the state's $15.7 billion deficit, they could start losing pay beginning Friday.

While Democrats did not reveal specifics over their disagreements with Governor Jerry Brown, Steinberg did acknowledge the sides disagree on making more cuts while trying to restructure the system.

"We have an obligation to be a voice for the voiceless," said Steinberg.

Assembly Speaker John Perez (D-Los Angeles) also signaled the majority party's willingness to work with Brown.

"I strongly believe that the differences between the governor's proposal and our proposal are bridgeable," said Perez. "Frankly, we're not only on the same page as the governor, we're in the same paragraph."

Republicans have been left out of budget negotiations as a result of Proposition 25, which allows Democrats to pass the budget on a majority vote.

Ten people were arrested at the state Capitol building during a protest over the Democratic governor's proposal to cut $225 million from the state's In-Home Supportive Services program, which provides care for the sick and disabled in their homes.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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