A Vote Tomorrow On... Ummm... Ummm...

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The headline pretty much says it all.

Legislative leaders say they expect to vote tomorrow on some kind of proposal to address the $11.2 billion breach in the state budget, but they won't confirm what is... or is not... in the proposal. And at this point, it seems unlikely that an actual deal is at hand.

After a private meeting with Governor Schwarzenegger this afternoon, the legislative leaders that emerged to a waiting throng of reporters said virtually nothing. Will there be a vote? Yes. What's going to be voted on? Can't tell ya. Will Republicans vote for any kind of proposal offered by Democrats? Who knows.

There are days when the press corps... and by extension, the public... knows very little about how elected officials, paid by taxpayers and generally required to deliberate in public, actually plan to act. (With every year, by the way, this phenomeon grows stronger.)

The incoming leader of the state Senate, Sen. Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento), later came back out to address a few questions, though again without any real specifics. Last week, Steinberg was identified as the man reportedly behind a deal that would both increase the vehicle license fee and place a new budget spending cap on the statewide ballot; the pro tem-in-waiting didn't comment on any of that today, choosing instead to only speak in general terms about tomorrow's proposal.

"The problem is of such significant magnitude," he said, "that we feel it is vital that we at least give it our best shot tomorrow, that we put up a responsible, balanced package."

One thing Steinberg did clear up, however, was that there is not currently a "deal," per se, between Democrats and Republicans.

That would seem to mean one of two things: either the push is now on to pick off the mininum number of GOP votes needed for a two-thirds majority, or the outcome of tomorrow's late afternoon debate is already a foregone conclusion.

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About John Myers

John Myers is senior editor of KQED's new California Politics & Government Desk. He has covered California politics for most of the past two decades, serving previously as Sacramento bureau chief for KQED News and most recently as political editor for KXTV News10 (ABC) in Sacramento. In 2014, he was named one of the nation's top statehouse reporters by The Washington Post. Follow him on Twitter @johnmyers.

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