Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg said after Gov. Jerry Brown's inaugural address today that Brown's post-inauguration period of goodwill could help him to resolve California's budget crisis, but that Brown and the Legislature must succeed quickly.
"He's going to use these first months where he has, you know, I think, a real sense of goodwill, from not only the people, but also from the legislature," said Steinberg, D-Sacramento. "We're going to put this fiscal crisis behind us early ... If we don't put the fiscal crisis behind us early, everything else we do will then pale."
Steinberg said politicians have many positive things to focus on, such as green energy and job creation, but that "first we have to show the people that we can put this fiscal crisis behind us, and put it behind us in the first six months."
Asked about Brown's intention, according to sources, to put a tax-extension matter on the June ballot and to propose dramatic reductions to virtually every area of state service, Steinberg said, "I don't like them (the cuts), but I'm prepared to work with my caucus and to work with the minority party and to work with the governor to do what has to be done."
He said Democrats would not "just take the governor's budget proposal and pass it on Day 1," but he said they would accelerate their review of his budget proposal and "work together to get it done."
"I don't like those cuts," Steinberg said. "But I'm not going to reject them out of hand."
Lt. Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom, also a Democrat, said Republicans had better start cheering for Brown, too.
"I want Jerry Brown to be successful. If he is, the state's successful," he said. "I think every Republican out there should hope he's successful, as well. We can't afford an unsuccessful governor."
Newsom said Republicans and Democrats must both be prepared to accept massive spending reductions. Everyone is "in for a rough ride," Newsom said. "We all need to get in together."