SACRAMENTO, California (Reuters) - A top California lawmaker said on Friday the state's leaders had reached a final agreement on closing a $19.1 billion deficit to balance the state budget, ending a record stalemate over a spending plan.
Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg announced the deal Friday evening following closed-door negotiations with other top lawmakers and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in the governor's office in the state capital of Sacramento and 93 days after California's fiscal year began on July 1.
Steinberg described the agreement as "comprehensive" and said he planned for the legislature to be able to vote on it next Thursday. He did not provide details on the deal.
"We all stepped up," said Steinberg, a Democrat, flanked by Republican leaders of the legislature's minority.
Details of the agreement, which both chambers of California's legislature must approve before reaching Schwarzenegger for his signature, would be released on Wednesday, said Aaron McLear, a spokesman for Schwarzenegger.
The agreement came as California entered the fourth month of its fiscal year without a spending plan in place and with the November election looming -- and with California voters telling pollster they have little confidence in their state leaders.
That should be an incentive for lawmakers to endorse the budget agreement and put the long stalemate behind them, said Jack Pitney, a professor of government at Claremont McKenna College.
"It's a bad dream and they want to get it over," Pitney said.
(Reporting by Jim Christie in Sacramento, editing by Jonathan Thatcher)