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Gov. Jerry Brown used his line-item veto authority to strike $128.9 million in spending from the $91.3 billion general fund state budget he signed, his office reported today.

Brown vetoed another $66.8 million in spending from special funds and federal funds, for a total veto amount of $195.7 million.

The Democratic governor's cuts affect child care and preschool for low-income children and Cal Grant scholarship aid at private schools, two areas that Brown wanted lawmakers to slash deeper than they did.

Those receiving Cal Grants at private schools face 5 percent award cuts in the 2012-13 school year. Brown's vetoes also result in an additional loss of 3,400 child care openings for low-income families, for a total of 14,000 fewer because lawmakers had already cut slots.

"It could have been, as with everything, it could have been much worse, could have been much deeper," said Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento. "I don't like it, but I'm prepared to move on."

The governor used his line-item veto power to cut $31 million in special funds that Democrats tapped to keep state parks open. Department of Finance officials said about 30 parks lack deals with other government agencies or private entities to remain open, but that negotiations are continuing. The latest state park to be spared was the Governor's Mansion in downtown Sacramento.

Brown did keep $23 million for state parks in the budget beyond what he proposed earlier this year. Natural Resources Secretary John Laird said those extra dollars will buy the state more time to find outside deals to keep the 30 parks open beyond the slated July 1 closure date - and he still sees a path to avoid any closures.

"What this does is give us the money to allow us to focus on the next 30 without a tight June 30th deadline," Laird said. "We will work through every agreement that is possible with a proposed stakeholder. And then when we get to the end, I expect that there will likely be a few parks for which nobody has stepped forward, and then we will cross that bridge with what we do at that point."

But Sen. Noreen Evans, D-Santa Rosa, said the parks veto was "really inexplicable to me." She was among the Democrats who pushed to use off-road vehicle, water board and energy accounts to keep parks open.

"The veto is extremely disappointing and is really a slap in the face to Californians who love their parks," she said.

Evans added that Brown's decision "means he obviously wants to continue with the closure of the parks or at least turn them over to private operators. My suspicion, my belief, is that this is being done in an effort to privatize the state parks system."

Read the final budget summary from the Department of Finance. The line items are at the end of the document.

Kevin Yamamura and Torey Van Oot reported details for this post. Updated throughout the morning with lawmaker and Brown administration reaction and clarification that the $66.8 million includes special and federal funds.


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