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California lawmakers approve on-time budget, but its fate remains uncertain

June 15, 2011 |  4:59 pm

Lawmakers600

Democratic lawmakers pushed through a rare on-time state budget Wednesday over Republicans' objections, using their new power to craft a spending plan with a simple majority vote.

The package would shrink California’s roughly $10-billion budget deficit through a blend of taxes, more cuts and accounting maneuvers. It would require that online retailers collect sales taxes, would impose new fees on homeowners in fire-prone zones and would raise local sales taxes. It would also cut deeper into higher education, public safety and the courts.

Much of the remaining deficit would be reduced, only temporarily, through delays in paying bills, skipping debt repayment and optimistic assumptions.

Lawmakers faced the threat of losing their paychecks if they did not approve a budget Wednesday. Voters included that provision in a new law approved last year that allowed passage of a spending plan with a simple majority vote.

It is unclear whether Gov. Jerry Brown will sign the plan.

Brown been trying to negotiate with Republicans to place a tax measure on the fall ballot and to extend expiring vehicle and sales taxes. Republicans are demanding overhauls to state pension, spending and regulator policy. Those talks have sputtered in recent days.

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-- Shane Goldmacher in Sacramento

Photo: Assembly Speaker John Peréz (D-Los Angeles), center, confers with Assemblymen Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo), left, and Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont). Credit: Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press

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