Capitol Alert

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JV_DARRELL_STEINBERG_BUDGET 037.JPG And on Day 34 they created a plan.

Today is Day 35 of the 2010-2011 fiscal year. There is still no state budget in place.

Democrats released details yesterday of their latest plan for closing the budget gap. The proposal avoids some deep spending cuts proposed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in part by including revenues from a new oil production tax and an increase in the income tax and the vehicle license fee. Lawmakers say the latter two would be offset for individuals by federal tax deductions and a permanent state sales tax cut.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's office declared the plan dead before it was even officially released. Legislative Republicans dismissed the plan as a tax increase, saying they'd rather stick to the spending cut-heavy "blueprint" laid out in Schwarzenegger's May budget revision.

Senate President pro tem Darrell Steinberg said he plans to put the proposal up for a vote ... at some point. "We've hit as close to a sweet spot as you will ever find," he said.

For now, Steinberg says, the hope is to get Republicans to "engage" in the budget process. (They say they have, pointing to Schwarzenegger's budget proposal).

Bottom line: the plan, which you can read here, seems to be little more than yet another starting point for budget negotiations (and a source of continued bickering).

Meanwhile, eyes across the country will be on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco today.

U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker will issue his decision today on the constitutional challenge to Proposition 8.

The voter-approved 2008 initiative banning on same-sex marriage was challenged by gay couples who said the new law violated their federal constitutional right to equal protection.

The decision will be released electronically. Look for it to be appealed.

CONFIRMATION: The Senate Rules Committee meets at 1:30 p.m. to consider confirming several of the governor's appointees, including Sen. Roy Ashburn, R-Bakersfield, to the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education.

MEMORIAL SERVICE: A private memorial service for former Assemblyman Keith Richman will be held in Los Angeles today. Richman, 56, died last week of brain cancer.

GOV2010: GOP gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman is opening a campaign office in East Los Angeles today. For those keeping tabs on former flacks: Jarrod Agen, communications director for Whitman's primary opponent Steve Poizner, is now working for Nevada Senate hopeful Sharron Angle, who's challenging U.S. Senate majority leader Harry Reid.

SENATE 2010: GOP Senate hopeful Carly Fiorina is in Sunnyvale for a campaign event with Asian American small business owners from the Bay Area.

PHOTO CREDIT: Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg talks with California business leaders on Tuesday morning at the state Capitol in Sacramento. Sacramento Bee/ José Luis Villegas


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