Not all the Democrats in the legislature got what they wanted in the budget agreement, but the two legislative leaders got something that they wanted, smoothing the way for an on-time budget. Assembly Speaker John Perez got funds for middle class students attending state universities and Senate Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg got money for mental health and dental care.

Both legislative leaders had raised these issues many times even before the budget discussions began in earnest. On Monday morning, both Perez and Steinberg were promoting their specific agendas to a gathering of small business people on California Small Business Day. Later that day, the budget deal was announced with the programs they championed included in the budget.

It’s good to be the leaders.

Meanwhile, the governor also got what he wanted—the legislature to accept the more conservative numbers on available dollars to spend. The legislature accepted the notion to wait and see what the actual numbers are – and if there is a dramatic increase in revenue, fight to spend it next year.

Some of that revenue will go for labor increases to state workers. The SEIU accepted an offer of a 4.5% raise. It was not as much as the union hoped for, especially from the governor and legislators they helped elect. The unions made that clear at a rally they held at the capitol last week.

As the Sacramento Bee reported, at the rally the union chief pointed at the capitol and said: “We’re letting them know this is our house!” … “Our house!” the 8,000 or so activists shouted back.

Wrong. It’s the people’s house!

The capitol cannot … must not … be for sale.

The amount of revenue needed to cover the cost of the raises and spending on other government programs will depend on how well the economy does over the next few years. A lot of attention will be paid to the tax revenue produced by Prop 30.

Foreshadowing a future fight on those taxes when they expire is the vote in this legislature to extend taxes and fees on cars, AB 8 and SB 11. The need to pass or defeat the tax extension has been discussed on this site by Senator Mimi Walters here and a rejoinder by the FlashReport’s Jon Fleischman today.

One issue in the debate is whether continuing an existing tax marked for extinction should be labeled as a tax increase. Expect that same argument to arise when Prop 30’s days are numbered. Spending advocates will surely make an attempt to keep the tax alive (at least the income tax portion) and will argue that extending a current tax is not raising a tax.