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California Senate Begins Budget Debate

Posted on Friday, June 10, 2011 6:58am

Senate Majority Leader Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) and Republican Leader Bob Dutton (R-Rancho Cucamonga) chat on the Senate floor Thursday. (Photo: Ben Adler)

The great California budget debate begins Friday – even though there’s no sign of a deal just yet.

Democrats and a handful of Republicans are close on the basics: a special election for Governor Jerry Brown’s proposed tax extensions in exchange for Republican priorities like a spending cap and pension changes. But the two sides disagree on Democrats’ desire to extend the taxes for up to a year while voters decide whether to keep them.

Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg said, “a one-year bridge is vital for public schools and for public safety to be able to make their budgets.”

Republicans say the tax increases should expire on schedule at the end of this month. Jann Taber with Senate Republican Leader Bob Dutton’s office points to Governor Brown’s campaign pledge.

“Democrats want to pass a one-year tax hike without a vote of the people,” said Taber. “What happened to ‘Let the people vote?’”

The Senate will debate the budget through the weekend. The Assembly will start its debate next week.

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