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Cannella still optimistic over budget solution
Things may appear bleak in Sacramento with prospects of a massive budget deficit but Anthony Cannella remains optimistic.

Cannella, who resigned as mayor of Ceres to join the freshman class of state senators on Dec. 6, is still be a little on Cloud Nine from the conclusion of a grueling campaign schedule and being victorious. For now he's in a transition period that consists of learning the system, hiring an office staff, applying for committee assignments and attending caucuses.

"We're in there starting to develop a plan," said Cannella, "and just work for the people."

After the holidays California gets a new governor when Jerry Brown is sworn in on Jan 3. Cannella expects everyone to "hit the ground running" to take one the whopping state budget deficit. Brown inherits a $9 billion state budget deficit and lawmakers including Cannella will have to find ways to pare down an expected $25 billion deficit in the summer.

"We have some serious challenges," said Cannella. "But I think people are starting to address those.

"I'm not happy that we're in predicament that we're in but I'm optimist that we can make changes in state government to make things better," said Cannella. "We're definitely all faced with very serious challenges and at some point the gimmicks have to be cast aside and we have to take these things head-on and this is the time."

Cannella is unsure how the new governor will work out but believes lawmakers understand that people are tired of games and real progress needs to be made to get the state's fiscal house in order.

"There's only so many tools in the tool box," said Cannella. "The voters gave the majority party (Democrats) the ability to pass a budget with a simple majority yet they made it harder to raise revenue; now it requires a two-thirds (majority) for fees and taxes."

He doesn't feel Sacramento can tax its way out of its massive budget shortfall but only by promoting a robust economy. The Ceres Republican suggests promoting business by reducing regulations.

"I think that we need to have regulations that make sense, that are based on good science and ultimately the goal should be compliance; the goal shouldn't be punitive, it shouldn't be systems of fees and fines for departments. Ultimately we should have regulations that are enforced by one agency, not by a host of agencies where we are in the business world are confused."

When it comes to budget decisions, Cannella said he will be governed by a philosophy that the state must "live within our means."

Cannella and other new legislators are still without committee assignments which are expected next month. He has asked to be on the agriculture, public safety, business and professions and local government committees.

Permanent office space has been assigned and Cannella is in the process of assembling a staff.

"It's a lot of time," said Cannella of his new job.

Without knowing what committees he will be given, Cannella is unsure what his schedule will look like. He expects to do a lot of commuting between Sacramento and his Ceres home where he has a wife and children but believes he will have to do some stay-overs one or two nights a week.

"I may get home at 10 o'clock but I get to see my kids in the morning," he said. "I get up early and probably do personal stuff and try to get to Sacramento by 9. Sessions start up there on Monday. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are committee assignments, and then Thursday I have session and be home in the district Thursday afternoons. I don't know my schedule totally just because I don't have any committee assignments yet."