California lawmakers recess with little progress on deficit

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AP Photo

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, right, talks with Victor Sanchez, President of the University of California Student Association after a higher education meeting held at the Capitol Sacramento, Calif., Wednesday, March 3, 2010. Schwarzenegger met with leaders of California's colleges and universities to discuss budget cuts that have left higher education in critical condition.

It’s quiet today at the State Capitol in Sacramento. State lawmakers have recessed until next month. In just three months into the legislative year, they’ve eliminated just a smidgen of the state’s multi-billion dollar deficit.

Schwarzenegger and legislators were only able to knock down the state deficit by $1.5 billion.

That leaves $18.5 billion to go.  

Almost all the savings resulted from one bill that replaced the state’s existing tax on gasoline with a new one.  The new tax siphons a bit more than $1 billion in revenues that used to go to local transportation. 

Lawmakers also agreed on $200 million worth of savings in other programs.  

Democrats had passed a bill that saved close to $2 billion and included many of the governor’s own proposals.

But Schwarzenegger vetoed that one because it wouldn’t take effect until next year.

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