Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

After wrangling with legislative Democrats earlier this month, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a new California budget late Wednesday that slashes courts and state workers while assuming voters will pass a multibillion-dollar tax hike in November.

The signing came hours before Brown's deadline to sign or veto the main budget bill that legislative Democrats sent him 12 days ago. Lawmakers moved the bill to the governor without a deal as they faced the threat of losing pay if they had waited beyond June 15.

Both houses held floor sessions Wednesday to pass a series of "trailer" bills that contained the guts of the compromise between Democrats and Brown. They also amended the main $91.5 billion general fund budget bill.

The 2012-13 spending plan is intended to bridge a $15.7 billion deficit.

Brown did not release details of his line-item vetoes, which he is expected to make public Thursday.

Democrats and the governor struck a deal last week that involved imposing a harsher two-year time limit on welfare-to-work parents that starts in January 2013; moving 880,000 low-income children from Healthy Families to Medi-Cal; and restoring $250 million in funding that Democrats originally wanted to take from counties.

In the last few days, details emerged on other provisions that could help Brown and Democrats campaign for a tax hike on sales and upper-income earners.

One would move the tax initiative to the top of a cluttered November ballot, a more favorable position than a rival income tax hike will have. Another change is aimed at convincing the University of California and California State University to freeze tuition this fall based on whether voters pass the tax.

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, said lawmakers now intend to focus on public employee pension reform, restrictions on foreclosure proceedings and funding for high-speed rail.



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