California lawmakers take up budget plan

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Governor Brown announced a balanced state budget that cuts spending by $12.5 billion and includes an eight to ten percent cut in take home pay for state employees and proposes a 'vast and historic' restructuring of government operations.

When state lawmakers return to the capitol tomorrow, they’ll begin to dissect the governor’s budget plan at a record pace. Jerry Brown’s asked the legislature to pass a budget by March 30.

The chair of the Assembly budget committee, Bob Blumenfield, told his colleagues to make the budget their number one priority. The Van Nuys Democrat set an accelerated schedule to review the governor’s spending plan and asked legislators to hold off working on other bills.

Senate budget chair Mark Leno issued a similar directive to his chamber.

The passage of the state budget is the most important thing the Legislature does. The normal deadline for completing the task is June 15.

But Governor Brown’s asked the legislature to pass the budget nearly three months early. That’s so he’ll have time to call a special election in June – he wants voters to weigh in on a tax proposal to help plug the state’s $25 billion deficit.

Brown wants to extend some recent tax increases for an extra five years. That plan would generate $12 billion dollars in revenues a year.

In his campaign for governor, Brown promised Californians that he’d pass no new taxes – unless voters agree to them. But first he has to convince the Legislature to place the tax proposal on the ballot.

Brown’s also proposed $12 billion in program and service cuts.

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