Nelson Mandela: A life in pictures
Nelson Mandela and his wife Winnie in this undated file picture.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Democratic lawmakers rushed Wednesday to wrap up work on nearly two dozen budget-related bills intended to satisfy the governor’s demand for deeper cuts to close a $15.7 billion deficit.
Meanwhile, Gov. Jerry Brown had until 11:59 p.m. Wednesday to sign or veto the previously approved main budget bill that relies heavily on voters approving tax hikes on the November ballot.
“I certainly don’t love all elements, but together when you look at it as a package, what it’s doing is moving us forward,” Assemblyman Bob Blumenfield, D-Woodland Hills, chairman of the Assembly Budget Committee, said before voting began in the Assembly.
“It’s moving us to fiscal stability in a smart way given the constraints that we’re under,” he said.
If voters pass the ballot initiative, Brown believes the state will raise $8.5 billion in the new fiscal year starting July 1 by increasing the sales tax by a quarter cent to 7.5 percent for four years, and boosting the income tax on people who make more than $250,000 a year for seven years.
If voters reject the measure, a series of automatic cuts would be triggered, including three weeks less of public school for the next two years. Public universities would risk additional cuts as well.
“This is a game of chicken where you want to swap our educational system for tax increases, tuition for tax increases,” said Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, R-Twin Peaks. “This is an abject disaster.”
A recent Field Poll found California voters divided on the initiative, with 52 percent in favor and 35 percent opposed.
One of the bills being considered could give the tax initiative top billing on the November ballot ahead of a competing tax hike proposal by wealthy civil rights attorney Molly Munger. The bill would require bond measures and constitutional amendments to appear on the ballot ahead of other initiatives and referendums.
Brown’s proposed tax hikes would be temporary but include constitutional changes to local government funding.
Being atop the ballot would help the governor’s initiative stand out on what will be a crowded ballot. So far, 12 measures have qualified. A water bond proposal is currently first but is expected to be delayed by the Legislature.
“If the result of this action is that our children’s education does not need to be cut by $5.6 billion, so be it,” Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, told senators Wednesday before the legislation passed.
Brown, a Democrat, has delayed taking action on the main budget bill that lawmakers sent him 12 days ago. It would enact a roughly $92 billion state spending plan for the fiscal year starting July 1.
Democratic leaders have agreed to deeper cuts to satisfy the governor’s demands, including restructuring the state’s welfare program, streamlining health insurance for low-income children, and reducing child care coverage and college aid.
Since then, Democrats who control the Legislature have been scrambling to draft companion legislation needed to implement the budget. Democrats have majorities in both the Assembly and Senate and can pass the budget without any Republican votes.
Democratic leaders agreed to Brown’s request to phase in a two-year time limit for new welfare recipients to find work under the state’s welfare-to-work program known as CalWORKS.
The two sides also agreed to eliminate Healthy Families, a children’s health insurance program for low-income working families, by slowly moving 880,000 children into Medi-Cal, the state’s version of Medicaid.
In addition, the state would reduce funding for child care assistance while college aid under the Cal Grants program would be reduced beginning in the 2013-14 school year. Lawmakers targeted for-profit colleges such as ITT Technical Institute and University of Phoenix in requiring higher graduation rates to qualify for state aid.
Democrats also included legislation that would appropriate more money for California’s public universities if the University of California and California State University agreed to freeze tuition rates. The funding is contingent upon voter approval of Brown’s tax hike measure.
Community colleges would get $50 million more as well.
Other legislation would allow Brown to furlough state workers without an agreement with their unions for a 5 percent reduction in wages. Service Employees International Union Local 1000, the state’s largest state employee union, has tentatively agreed to a plan in which covered workers will take 12 unpaid days of leave over 12 months starting July 1.
Nelson Mandela and his wife Winnie in this undated file picture.
Mandela is accompanied by his former wife Winnie, moments after his release from prison February 11, 1990 after serving 27 years in jail. (Reuters)
In this February, 1990 photo, shortly after his release from 27 years in prison, Nelson Mandela, gives the black power salute to the 120,000 supporters packing Soccer City stadium in Soweto, near Johannesburg. (AP Photo)
Nelson Mandela showed his passport in February 19, 1990, shortly after his release from prison. The South African government authorized an application for himself and his wife Winnie - (Juda Ngwenya / Reuters)
In this July 27, 1991 photo, Cuban President Fidel Castro, and Nelson Mandela gesture during the celebration of the "Day of the Revolution" in Matanzas, Cuba. (AP Photo)
In this July 4, 1993 photo, President Bill Clinton and Nelson Mandela listen during Fourth of July ceremonies in Philadelphia during which Clinton presented the Philadelphia Liberty Medal to the African National Congress president and South African President F.W. de Klerk. (AP Photo/Greg Gibson)
President of the African National Congress Nelson Mandela acknowledges cheers from the crowd as he prepares to unveil the ANC's official election platform in 1994. (AP Photo/David Brauchli)
African National Congress (ANC) leader Nelson Mandela greeted residents of Mmabatho in March 1994, during a visit after the nominal homeland came under South African control following the ousting of the former President Lucas Mangope. (Reuters/Howard Burditt)
South African President Nelson Mandela smiles with actor Sidney Poitier at a press conference in Cape Town in 1996. Poitier played Mandela in the film "One Man, One Vote" (AP Photo / Sasa Kralj)
South African President Nelson Mandela waves to crowds as he sits next to Queen Elizabeth II in a an open carriage on the way to Buckingham Palace.(AP/Louisa Buller)
Chairman of the Constitutional Assembly Cyril Ramaphosa, left, holds up a copy of the country's constitution which was signed by President Nelson Mandela, in December 1996. (AP Photo / Adil Bradlow / POOL)
Nelson Mandela at a news conference in Johannesburg in February 2000. (AP Photo / Denis Farrell)
South African rugby captain Francois Pienaar, right, received the Rugby World Cup trophy from President Nelson Mandela also wearing a South African rugby shirt, after South Africa defeated New Zealand in the Rugby World Cup , in 1995. (AP Photo / Ross Setford)