Source: LA Times - Officials refuse to reveal plans of an accord that would end the longest budget deadlock on record. A hearing is expected Wednesday with a vote as early as Thursday.
Reporting from Sacramento — Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and legislative leaders said Friday night that they had reached an agreement to end the state's longest-ever budget stalemate.
The announcement came after hours of closed-door meetings in the governor's office on how to close the state's $19.1-billion deficit. The new budget year began July 1, and the state government has been operating without a spending plan since then.
Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D- Sacramento), flanked by the state's three other legislative leaders, said in a scrum with reporters outside the governor's office that the negotiators had struck a "comprehensive agreement." He declined to share any details about what it contained.
"The details will come out next week," said Aaron McLear, Schwarzenegger's press secretary.
Lawmakers promised a public hearing on the proposed budget package Wednesday and a vote of the full Legislature as early as Thursday. Before final passage, the leaders must persuade two-thirds of the Assembly and Senate to support the plan.
That could prove challenging. Past budget deals put together by legislative leaders and the governor amid California's ongoing fiscal crisis have been derailed by the Assembly and Senate rank and file, forcing their leaders to keep them in chambers for days as they and the governor tried to round up votes.
"We think it is a budget that will pass," said the Senate's GOP leader, Dennis Hollingsworth of Murrieta.
Although the governor and leaders refused to provide an outline of their agreement, Democrats and Republicans alike have previously said the budget would not contain any broad new taxes.
According to sources close to the discussions, the plan contains roughly $7.5 billion in cuts to services. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.
The sources said Schwarzenegger and other Republicans had backed down from their most austere budget-cutting demands, including the elimination of the state's main welfare program and day care for 140,000 children in low-income families.