Democratic Leaders Defend Budget Deal
State lawmakers will vote on a new budget deal next week, after Democratic leaders struck a deal with Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday yesterday, including deep cuts to welfare and health care programs for the poor.
For instance, lawmakers agreed to shorten how much time families on welfare can receive cash grants from four to two years.
State Sen. Mark Leno, a Democrat from San Francisco, chairs the Senate Budget Committee.
He defends the change, saying it still allows recipients to stay on welfare past the deadline if they're in an education program or close to getting a job.
"So what we have done," Leno says, "and I think successfully, is taken some of the rougher edges off the governor's proposals with regards to social programs and our social safety net."
Leno says the budget is still suffering from tax cuts former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger made nine years ago and which the state couldn't afford.
And Leno says it's all the more important now to convince voters to pass new taxes on the November ballot, or else the state will have to make further cuts to education.