California Lawmakers Battle Over Closing Budget

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California State Capitol in Sacramento (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

California State Capitol in Sacramento (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

DougSovern20100908_KCBS_0208r Doug Sovern
Doug began his career as a copy boy at the New York Times, and then...
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SACRAMENTO (KCBS)-California’s state budget is $15 billion in the red, but $2.5 billion from a state income tax windfall may make it easier to close. Governor Jerry Brown will lay out his revised budget a week from Monday which includes a plan to extend three expiring tax increases. However, state Republicans are seizing news of the extra revenue to oppose the governor’s extensions.

The ideological battle between the divided political party lines comes as no surprise, with parents and teachers saying that higher taxes are better than deeper cuts, especially when it comes to education.

State Senator Joe Simitian of Palo Alto is among the Democrats anguishing over the potential impact of closing the remaining deficit through cuts alone.

KCBS’ Doug Sovern Reports:

“I’m hopeful we will find answers and find some common ground so we can put our budget behind us and we can get on with the business of running the state,” said Simitian.

While Republican lawmakers are holding firm against raising taxes, Democrats and the California Teachers Union are campaigning to prevent more cuts in spending by running ads that warn about the dire impact of more cuts to schools.

Paul Vetter, parent of an Oakland 5th grader, said he’d rather dig deeper, than cut deeper.

“Public education funding continues to get cut year after year and if it takes new taxes, [then] here I am saying I’m going to pay it,” said Vetter.

Assembly Republican Leader Connie Conway negates the argument for raising taxes to save schools, and said the unanticipated couple billion from tax receipts could go directly to K-12 education.

State finance officials have said it’s too soon to start spending the extra cash, until they have a better fix on California’s expenses and income for the year.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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