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SACRAMENTO – In this Democratic weekly address, Assembly Majority Leader Alberto Torrico (D-Newark) calls for a responsible approach to solving California’s budget deficit and criticizes Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger for threatening draconian budget cuts to the state’s safety net if California does not receive $8 billion in federal support.

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Website of Assemblymember Alberto Torrico:

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Hello, this is Assembly Majority Leader Alberto Torrico.

Californians were generally pleased this week at the governor’s tone in his State of the State Address.

We all want him to have a good last year and wish he could still have a solid legacy.

But while we know he says he wants to be in denial about leaving office, it’s wrong for him to carry denial and wishful thinking over into the budget he released yesterday.

Denial that his budget includes a massive hit to education -- when he pledged just 48 hours ago that he wouldn’t do that.

Denial that he is protecting higher education -- when he includes a loophole so big that Republicans can still force overspending on prisons and underfunding for higher education.

Denial that aspiring to worthy goals means you don't need to offer real solutions – and simply saying “we will spend less on corrections” is a slogan not a solution.

Denial that you can call for more help from the federal government -- and then start burning bridges with leaders in Washington.

The good news for the people of California is that you don’t have to take this budget proposal seriously, because the governor obviously doesn’t either.  And that will become even clearer in the coming weeks as his goalposts move and the hostage demands start coming in.

But we are taking this budget crisis very seriously and we will begin working immediately to address the current shortfall in a responsible, balanced, and realistic way, while also setting the stage for closing the 2010-2011 budget gap.

Through thorough hearings, public review and public testimony, and solid numbers and data the Assembly and Senate will lead a serious process that leads to a serious budget.

This is Assembly Majority Leader Alberto Torrico.

Thank you very much for listening.