Assemblyman Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge) argued that legislators are making significant efforts to reduce the deficit.
“I’m not putting anything on hold,” Portantino said. “I’m moving forward with my reform agenda and efforts to rein in state spending.”
The governor and the state’s legislative analyst said early this year that substantial deficit-reduction steps needed to be taken before the end of March in order to avoid more difficult decisions later in the year.
But legislators and the governor have so far agreed to only about $1 billion in savings out of a projected deficit of $6.6 billion in the current year.
The Schwarzenegger administration has projected a deficit of about $19 billion by mid-2011.
The Legislature approved a series of spending adjustments to the state’s prison system, but Schwarzenegger vetoed it because he said it included unrealistic assumptions. The Legislature had assumed that deporting undocumented felons would save $182 million, while Schwarzenegger had pegged the savings at $19 million.
Although Democrats criticized the veto, lawmakers have not yet taken up other proposals for taking chunks out of the deficit.
“At this point, everyone’s going to kind of hold fire and wait to see what the income tax returns show, and then that’ll kind of set the governor up for the May revise,” Assemblyman Cameron Smyth (R-Santa Clarita) said.
While significant actions from the Legislature have been seemingly delayed, Smyth was confident that income taxes would bring in stronger revenues than initially anticipated, he said.