Gov-elect Brown meets with Gov. Schwarzenegger

SACRAMENTO Schwarzenegger and Brown flew back to Sacramento from an officer's funeral. They talked about, among other things, the upcoming transition.

Then Brown walked the halls of his old stomping grounds, the Capitol, laying the groundwork for reining in government costs.

First stop, the Finance Department.

"Good meeting, but a very sobering meeting. I think the problems we face are certainly as bad as anyone could imagine. And it's going to take a lot of very tough decisions," said Brown.

Then it was off to see the legislative leaders and lawmakers. He has to put the budget together, ideally by mid-December, so he can present his budget publically, on time, on January 10.

"It's very daunting. It's certainly as bad as it's ever has been," said Brown. "It's going to take people in both the Democratic Party and the Republican Party to get out of their comfort zone. And no one's predilection is going to be satisfied."

Because the state's finances are so bad, Democrats may be in for a surprise. A Democratic governor doesn't necessarily mean their prized social programs will be spared the budget ax.

"He's very unorthodox. He's a different kind of Democrat," said Democratic strategist Steve Maviglio. "I think he's going to look at what's best for the state first rather than what's best for the interest groups. After the euphoria is over, there's going to be a reality check for a lot of Democrats, interest groups in particular, who are expecting the moon."

The budget process will be a little different this time around. Voters this week approved a majority vote budget, meaning no Republican votes will be needed to pass one. Voters also approved measures making it harder to enact new fees and borrow from local government.

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