SACRAMENTO, CA - The Senate Budget committee quickly approved numerous spending measures so lawmakers of each house could vote on them just before Friday night's midnight deadline, when they start losing their pay for every day the budget is late.
Democrats rejected the Gov. Jerry Brown's deep cuts to welfare and instead will take money from reserves to lessen the blow.
"These are the most vulnerable people in our population," Budget Committee member Sen. Noreen Evans, D-Santa Ross, said. "They're the ones finding it the most difficult to find jobs in this bad economy."
Senate Republicans boycotted the hearing because the proposals were written less than 24 hours prior to hearing and hadn't had time to review them.
"48 hours would be ideal. I think the public needs to see what's in the documents as well," Budget Committee member Sen. Bill Emmerson, R-Riverside, said.
"We're moving quickly because our Constitutional requirement is to pass a budget by June 15th," Budget Committee Chairman Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, said.
But new voter-approved rules allow the majority party, Democrats, to pass state budgets without Republican votes and the Friday vote is set even though some measures still haven't been written.
Jonetta Hall is on her last month of welfare, known in California as CalWorks, but little Kayla would still get a stipend.
Under Brown's plan, the 5-year-old would get $230 a month. Democrats proposed to give her nearly $100 a month more. Neither stipend is enough to live on.
"We're already struggling. We're not getting enough to keep a roof over our head," Hall said. "We have to house with other people. I just think it's unfair."
It's unclear whether Brown likes the Democrats' version of the budget. He showed us last year, he's not afraid of vetoing a spending plan from his own party.