Gov. Pete Wilson vetoed a school spending bill Tuesday, endangering a budget agreement that was supposed to end California's two-month fiscal deadlock.
Both houses of the Legislature, breaking their midnight Monday adjournment deadlines, planned to return Tuesday afternoon to consider the $57 billion budget and a dozen related bills.Key lawmakers and staffers from Wilson's office met behind closed doors early Tuesday to attempt to negotiate a compromise on public school and community college financing, welfare, aid to local governments and other issues. Talks were suspended in the early morning hours with no announcement of a settlement but were expected to resume later Tuesday.
Senate leaders said an agreement was near; those in the Assembly were less optimistic.
"I think this can be wrapped up," said Senate Democratic leader David Roberti.
Senate GOP leader Kenneth Maddy agreed that an accord was "maybe a question of hours of negotiations."
But Democratic Assembly Speaker Willie Brown, the Republican governor's chief political rival, said it was difficult to negotiate with Wilson.
"When he doesn't have his way, he's like a petulant child. In a democracy, people have to vote their conscience and not Willie Brown or anybody else can demand that they vote a certain way," Brown said.
Majority Democrats and the governor disagree over how to cover a nearly $11 billion cash shortage caused principally by the recession's impact reducing state tax revenues.
Generally, Wilson supports deep cuts throughout state government, particularly welfare and education. The Democrats seek more moderate cuts, along with protections for public education funding.