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State lawmakers pass proposal to cut budget deficit by $1.1 billion

March 4, 2010 | 11:36 am

The state Legislature on Thursday approved a proposal to pare more than $1 billion from California's budget deficit through a complicated maneuver that would change how gasoline is taxed in California without altering the sums collected in taxes at the pump.

The plan would eliminate current restrictions on how gas taxes have to be spent, providing lawmakers the freedom to use the money to reduce the state's estimated $20 billion deficit.

As a result, funding for mass transit, such as bus and rail lines, would be substantially reduced this year. The plan would save the state an estimated $1.1 billion through June 2011.

"I think this is good policy," said Sen. Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach), before the measure, AB 6 X8, was approved.

The governor on Wednesday evening said he had not yet reviewed it and declined to say if he would sign it.

-- Shane Goldmacher in Sacramento