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Fixing California: How close is a budget deal?

June 22, 2009 |  5:07 pm

Fixingcalifornia The Times' editorial board offers a somewhat optimistic analysis of the debate about taxes as a way to closing the state budget gap, concluding that "with a little wrangling, and with focus on the state's well-being rather than on interests with their own pecuniary axes to grind, Sacramento has a budget solution within reach."

The Times' veteran Sacramento columnist George Skelton warns readers not to hold too much stock in the current budget "plans" being offered. They seem to be DOA:

Call it the Dance of Death, the Kabuki or the Summer Follies -- the performance they're about to give in California's Capitol is a necessary ritual. But it shouldn't be taken very seriously by the outside world. Both houses of the Legislature intend to debate the Democrats' deficit-reduction proposal this week. They're the majority party, but their budget plan has no chance of passing intact. It's doomed by nearly $2.2 billion in additional tax increases, mostly on oil companies and smokers but also on motorists. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Republican legislators have the power through the veto and the required two-thirds majority vote to kill any tax hike, and they'll execute with relish.