California state legislature breaks record for latest budget

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Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A view of the California State Capitol February 19, 2009 in Sacramento, California.

California has broken a record. This year’s budget - whenever the legislature passes it - will be the state government’s latest budget in 30 years.

California's constitutional deadline to pass a budget is June 15. Lawmakers have met it only five times in the last 30 years. The last time was the last budget.

The governor had declared a fiscal emergency in January of 2009 when the projected budget deficit ballooned to $40 billion. Lawmakers agreed to a spending plan a month later. That was a record, too: the earliest state budget ever.

But by summer, the deficit had grown again – this time to $20 billion. Legislators had to amend the budget they’d passed early – and they fought over how to do that through July last year.

Republicans, who’d agreed to a tax increase, now say that was a onetime deal. Democrats, who agreed to deep cuts in spending, now say they won’t cut that deep again. That leaves few options for closing this year’s $19 billion deficit.

The state controller has warned that he may have to pay the state government’s bills next month with IOUs.

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