Friday, August 29, 2008

Day 60: CALIFORNIA SENATE DEMOCRATS TO INTRODUCE BUDGET PLAN: The proposal includes a sales tax increase and controls on future state spending.

It is unclear whether the proposal has the support of any Republicans.

By Evan Halper, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

August 29, 2008 -- SACRAMENTO -- -- Democrats in the state Senate said they would attempt to break the budget impasse today by offering their own spending plan for a vote.
It would be the first floor vote on the budget in that house since the fiscal year began 60 days ago.

The plan Democrats are offering is rooted in a proposal Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger unveiled this month. It includes a temporary sales tax hike and controls on how much the state could spend in the future.

It is unclear whether the proposal has the support of any Republicans. A budget cannot pass the Senate without at least two GOP votes. Senate Leader Don Perata (D-Oakland) suggested the governor may be able to persuade some Republican lawmakers to support the plan.

"If the governor can get a couple of votes, then we will have a budget," he said.

If the plan were to pass, it would go to the Assembly, where it would need at least six GOP votes.

Assembly Democrats are working on an alternative plan -- one that would allow them to raise taxes without the required two-thirds majority vote, according to people involved in confidential negotiations.

The plan would attempt to exploit a legal loophole by eliminating a tax cut that was put in place several years ago. Legislative lawyers have suggested it could be approved without Republican votes.

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