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Democrats Say They’re Real Close on Finishing a Budget Proposal

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Aired 4/19/09

California legislative leaders have agreed on the framework of a plan to balance the state budget, but the leaders say it's not a done deal yet. It includes significant tax hikes and deep cuts. Democratic lawmakers say they want to bring the budget package to a vote by week's end. It's unclear whether enough Republicans would support it. From Sacramento, Marianne Russ reports.

Democratic Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg says lawmakers are very close….but

Steinberg: There is no deal.

Steinberg says there are loose ends to tie up. He says leaders and the Governor have agreed on a broad framework that includes cuts to schools and social services, as well as new taxes and limits on state spending.

Temporary taxes being discussed include a one-cent sales tax hike, as well as increases in the vehicle license fee, the gas tax and the income tax. Steinberg acknowledged it's a tough pill to swallow:

Steinberg: I don't know any good news to come out of solving a 41 billion dollar deficit, in terms of the substance. The only good news is getting it behind us responsibly.

Steinberg says several measures would require voter approval. He adds the plan does not rely on federal stimulus money - but says cuts could be softened if those dollars come through.

It's not clear yet whether there will be enough Republican - or Democratic votes to pass the spending plan.

Senate Republican Leader Dave Cogdill says there are still details to iron out. Steinberg says he's hopeful for a floor vote Friday.

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