SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- A delicate budget fix crafted by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and legislative leaders was on the brink of collapse early Wednesday after Republicans in the Senate ousted their leader. The late-night coup could derail already strained budget talks by requiring them to renegotiate with a new Republican leader.
The current package containing billions in tax hikes, spending cuts and borrowing took leaders more than three months to put together as the state tries to pass a midyear budget fix and avoid fiscal calamity.
Lawmakers viewed the leadership change as a major setback after they fell short by just one GOP vote, but Democratic leader Darrell Steinberg said he didn't want to speculate what it would mean for the package.
"We're after one reasonable person who puts California first," Steinberg said as Republicans voted to remove Sen. Dave Cogdill.