UPDATE 6:43 p.m. to add video of the Democratic legislative leaders press conference
The state's two Democratic legislative leaders parted ways with Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday after he swiftly vetoed their budget plan, saying they were "deeply dismayed" by the governor's action in a hastily called Capitol press conference.
Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, and Assembly Speaker John A. PÃ©rez, D-Los Angeles, blamed Republicans for not agreeing to a bipartisan deal to extend taxes. But the two leaders also took shots at Brown and said the governor's inability to secure enough GOP votes forced their hand.
"We are too far down the road for the governor to continue avoiding a specific proposal or specific set of proposals of what he intends to do or wants to be done if he can't gain those Republican votes," Steinberg said. "Governor, over the next two weeks, if you can't get the Republican votes, give us your specific changes to the budget that we passed yesterday that can be adopted by a majority vote."
"The governor's constant references to his January proposal ring hollow if he is unable to deliver Republican votes," Steinberg concluded.
Scroll down to see Hector Amezcua's video of their news conference.
Republicans praised Brown's immediate veto Thursday, but they denied that they were the cause of the state's budget woes.
Four Republicans who had been negotiating with Brown - Senators Tom Berryhill, Anthony Cannella, Bill Emmerson and Tom Harman - issued the following statement: "While the Governor did the right thing by vetoing the Democrats sham budget, we challenge his assertion that Republicans have blocked the right of the people to vote. In fact, it's the Democrats who are holding California hostage by refusing to allow the voters to weigh in on meaningful structural reforms -- not just Governor Brown's tax proposal.
Steinberg and PÃ©rez emphasized that they were not willing to cut schools and other programs any deeper than they did Wednesday. If Brown wants to pursue an "all cuts" course in the absence of Republican votes, they said, he will need to do so with his line-item veto authority.
"When he failed again to get the needed Republican votes, we did the most responsible thing we could do with the limited resources before us," PÃ©rez said. We passed an on-time balanced budget that had meaningful cuts far deeper than any of us would have liked to see ... Further cuts would have been in some cases gratuitous and in other cases devastating to economic recovery that we're now seeing in California."
Steinberg suggested Brown was letting the perfect be the enemy of the good. The two leaders said Democrats had reduced the structural deficit significantly - more so than the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst thought possible for one year.
"The governor, I think, is really getting caught up and, frankly, a little bit confused between total victory, which in this process cannot actually be achieved in most instances in one year, and progress," Steinberg said.
The leaders downplayed suggestions that they moved the budget Wednesday to maintain legislative pay.
"We clearly met the obligation to pass a balanced, on-time budget," PÃ©rez said. "What's at issue right now is more important than pay. What's at issue right now is creating economic stability for the state of California that's essential."
Of Brown's criticisms that the Democratic budget was not balanced and not financeable, the speaker said, "When you make a veto message, you usually don't say this is a wonderful, beautiful package you've sent me, but I'm going to veto it anyway. So there's a little bit of need to back up the veto."