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California lawmakers prepare for budget vote

July 23, 2009 |  9:01 am

California legislative leaders and their staff are scrambling to prepare the dozens of bills in the budget compromise reached this week for a vote later today.

As they do, some lawmakers continue to express doubts about the package, calling into question whether there will be enough votes for it to pass out of the state Senate and Assembly.

The leaders are forecasting a session that stretches late into the night -- and possibly all night.

The deal would close the state's $26.3-billion deficit with deep cuts to schools and programs that serve the elderly, poor and disabled; borrow money and take funds from local government; and slice law enforcement funding.

Some of the most heated reaction has come from city and county government officials. The plan would seize $4.7 billion in local funds through a variety of measures, essentially shifting part of the state's deficit to the local governments.

The prospect of losing $313 million in redevelopment funds and $109 million in gasoline taxes prompted a lawsuit threat from Los Angeles County supervisors.

And state worker unions are angry about the deal's plan to continue three unpaid furlough days a month, which amounts to about a 14% pay cut. The largest of the unions, Service Employees International Union Local 1000, has mailed out strike authorization ballots to its 95,000 members.

-- Evan Halper in Sacramento

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