SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - California's Senate approved on Friday the main bill in a state budget package aimed at closing a $15.7 billion gap after the chamber's Democratic leader said his caucus would advance it despite Democratic Governor Jerry Brown's opposition.
The bill now goes to the Democratic-led state Assembly for a vote later on Friday.
The Senate's Republican minority opposed the bill. Republicans in the Assembly also oppose it but lack the votes to block the chamber's Democrats from approving it and sending it to Brown.
The governor and the legislature's Democratic leaders are at odds over how much spending to cut from programs providing services to California's neediest to help balance the state's books.
Democratic lawmakers have sought to limit the cuts, while Brown has stood by his plan for deep cuts and recently urged them to support an overhaul of the state's welfare system.
Before the Senate vote, Senate President pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg said in a videotaped statement the key budget bill would clear his chamber to meet the Legislature's midnight deadline for a spending plan.
An aide to a top Assembly Democrat said that chamber would also vote to meet the deadline.
Steinberg said he aimed to press on with talks with Brown in coming days to reach a consensus spending plan before the July 1 start of the new fiscal year.
Despite their differences, Brown and Democratic lawmakers support the budget plan's proposal for raising new revenue to help close the state's shortfall and bolster the state's finances in coming years.
That revenue relies on voters in November approving a ballot measure to increase the state sales tax and income tax rates for wealthy taxpayers.
California's governor is technically required to sign a plan balancing the budget before start of the new fiscal year, but the state has a long history of its leaders engaging in protracted budget battles and missing deadlines for spending plans.
Brown last year vetoed a spending approved by Democrats, saying it was not a truly balanced budget. The two sides resolved their differences, allowing Brown to sign California's budget before the start of the current fiscal year.
Brown's office was not immediately available to comment on the Senate's vote.
(Reporting by Jim Christie; Editing by Peter Cooney)