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Calif. Democrats Optimisitc About Budget Progress

— California’s legislative leaders met with the governor Thursday night to work on the state’s budget. While Democrats sounded optimistic, the Governor’s office says there’s still a lot of work to be done.

After a three hour meeting, Democratic Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg sounded hopeful a budget is within reach.

“It was a very good session and we have a few more things to talk about and we’re hoping to be done tomorrow or the weekend at the latest,” said Steinberg.

But Aaron McLear, the governor’s spokesman, didn’t seem to share Steinberg’s optimism. In fact, he said only a little progress was made.

“No major breakthroughs at all, just kind of working through the issues. We still are where we were, we have a 19 billion dollar deficit,” said McLear.

McLear said the governor’s initial proposal included about $13 billion in cuts. He says that number has gone down, but a final agreement hasn’t been reached yet. One thing that is certain, the governor’s idea to borrow $2 billion from the state workers retirement program, CalPERS, is no longer an option.

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