California legislators expected to vote on budget today

As we approach December, it was “only” two months ago that the Governator was threatening to veto the budget even after a 78 day stalemate in the legislature. Now, after California’s voters have passed a measure to spend nearly $10 Billion dollars on a high speed train, legislators are still trying to close this year’s budget gap by a variety of measures from raising taxes on pets and car registration to cutting mediacare programs funding for education.

Today, the Sacremento Bee has given us a good snapshot of California’s budget efficiency and debate:

State lawmakers plan to vote today in a last-minute attempt by the lame-duck Legislature to bridge a growing state budget shortfall.

Legislative leaders met Monday with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in the Capitol to negotiate a package of spending cuts and tax increases to close the latest budget gap.

Both houses have called lawmakers back for rare November floor sessions this afternoon.

But the leaders did not strike a compromise Monday and agreed to continue negotiating today, according to Jim Evans, spokesman for Senate President Pro Tem-elect Darrell Steinberg.

Senate Republican leader Dave Cogdill said “there certainly aren’t any ironclad agreements at this point in time.”

Aides to Democratic Assembly Speaker Karen Bass said their house would vote on a $17 billion package divided between cuts and taxes. They didn’t specify details.

“I’m confident Assembly Democrats will once again step up to the plate and show real leadership by accepting cuts we don’t like, as we already have,” Bass said in a statement. “California needs our Republican colleagues to finally do the same regarding revenues. We are running out of time.”

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