If there is one narrative that Democrats in the California Legislature are working hard to kill, it's that they have big differences left to iron out with Gov. Jerry Brown over a new state budget, differences reflected in the budget approved on Monday afternoon.
"We're differing from the governor's proposal by about point eight of one percent ," said state Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) as he introduced the legislative plan which passed both houses on a party-line vote.
"So all of the news stories, all of the drama," said Leno, "is over point eight of one percent."
Leno's comment was focused on about $800 million in discretionary spending, the amount by which the Legislature's $117 billion in general fund spending exceeds that proposed by Brown last month.
But that gap is actually part of a larger, more fundamental disagreement -- one about economic expectations over the coming twelve months and the governor's push for more conservative revenue predictions. Those predictions have been, as legislative Democrats point out, generally wrong; but they've also then allowed the governor to funnel additional dollars into one-time expenses, not ongoing government programs like those legislators hope to boost in the wake of the state's deep recession.