<em>Patt Morrison</em> is known for its innovative discussions of local politics and culture, as well as its presentation of the effects of national and world news on Southern California.
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California’s budget proposal invokes deep cuts, creativity and wishful thinking

Budget Battle
Budget Battle
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After the longest budget impasse California has ever seen since the July 1 start of its fiscal year, lawmakers yesterday got their first look at a plan to close the state’s $19 billion deficit, which now represents more than 20 percent of the state's $87.5 billion general fund. The plan on the table isn’t so much a compromise as a mutually assured budget of pain, the result of a bitter gridlock in which Republicans refused anything that could be interpreted as a tax or fee increase and Democrats were unwilling to cut more than $7.5 billion in spending. The result is no tax increases and a harsh order of spending cuts, creative accounting and wishful thinking. For example, it assumes the federal government will send California $5.3 billion, nearly $2 billion more than Schwarzenegger projected in May, and it really hopes Californians bounce out of the recession to send $1.4 billion in additional tax revenue to state coffers. We take a look at where the cuts will come from, starting with the delay of nearly $2 billion in payments to K-12 schools and community colleges and just how realistic this plan is.