Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will offer a last-ditch budget proposal Monday to close a $6 billion deficit over six months, but don't expect his ideas to go very far.
Democrats are likely to ignore Schwarzenegger's special-session budget, instead waiting until Democratic Gov.-elect Jerry Brown issues his own plan one month later.
Democrats expect more palatable solutions from Brown, especially since Schwarzenegger spokesman Aaron McLear has promised "ugly cuts" and no new taxes in Schwarzenegger's stopgap December proposal.
But Democratic leaders also think the deficit problem should be viewed in its $25.4 billion entirety – not just as a short-term $6 billion gap with an end date defined by the lame-duck governor.
"From our perspective, it makes more sense to work with the incoming governor on a global solution to our budget rather than work on a piecemeal approach with a governor who will be gone in a few weeks," said Nathan Barankin, spokesman for Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento.
The overall $25.4 billion deficit consists of two parts. It includes a $6.1 billion deficit through June 30 that exists because state leaders relied on rosy assumptions in their record-late October budget package, according to the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office. It also includes a $19.3 billion deficit in the next 2011-12 fiscal year.
Schwarzenegger wants to tackle only the first piece of the problem. "We're not going to increase taxes," McLear said. "I think you're looking at mostly ugly cuts. It's very simple. The state is going to have to cut, if not under this governor, then under the next governor."
The Legislature has ignored a lame-duck governor's special session call before.
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