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Brown Hosts Budget Discussion With Lawmakers

As he prepares his own plan to balance the state’s budget, Governor-elect Jerry Brown is getting feedback from Capitol community. He hosted an unusual discussion with more than 200 lawmakers, staffers and local government leaders Wednesday in Sacramento.

The picture painted by budget experts was bleak. The state’s nonpartisan legislative analyst said the deficit over the next year-and-a-half could go as high as $28 billion. That’s because of changes to the federal estate tax. Brown said he knows the budget will be tough to balance, but he’s optimistic.

“If we all give in a little bit – maybe a lot sometimes, I think we can pull it off," Brown said. "We can get on the track. It’s taken a long time to get here. No sense pointing the blame, pointing fingers. I think we got to join hands together and get California back on the track and I hope this is a good step forward in that goal.”

Next year a set of temporary tax increases will expire, and federal stimulus funds are also drying up, leaving leaders with fewer options.

State Controller John Chiang said California could face another cash crunch as soon as July.

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