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Steinberg: No budget ‘deal’ until it’s truly done

By Josh Richman
Wednesday, February 11th, 2009 at 4:15 pm in California State Senate, Darrell Steinberg, state budget.

California State Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, addressed the Sacramento Press Club today:

“This is difficult. I pride myself on being someone who communicates easily with the press and the public, I have nothing to hide, and yet I have an obligation to see this process through. So this is what I want to tell you.

“The term deal, I think, gets overused. There is no deal – there is no deal until, until some of the loose ends are worked out, until there is a clear and complete review of very, very complicated language, and until the votes themselves are ready to go. Having said that, among the leaders and the governor, there is an agreed-upon framework, there is an agreed-upon framework. All is moving in a positive direction towards resolution. The staff, the incredible staff on both sides of the aisle and the leaders and the governor are working to iron out the few remaining loose ends.

“We hope and anticipate and expect a vote within the next couple of days. Until all that is complete, there is no deal in the way that I think you and all of us are used to describing such a term. But we are all aware, and I certainly as one leader – and I think I can speak on behalf of everyone who is involved in this situation – feel the urgency and feel the absolute need for quick and responsible action.”

[snip]

“No one likes the secrecy of the Big Five, it’s not the way the process should happen. I will freely admit that, it’s not the way the process should happen. And yet given the time frame that we have been dealt — again, 72 days as Pro Tem — given the extraordinary circumstances, it demands in my view, it has demanded an extraordinary structure and an extraordinary process to make sure that we meet the bottom line, which is to solve the problem and to get the crisis behind us.

“But I think the fact that we have to, that we kept this a closed-door negotiation does in fact speak to why the capital environment itself is dysfunctional, and what work we have to think about going forward.”

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