Calif lawmakers approve $18 billion budget plan

December 18, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
Both houses of the California Legislature have approved an $18 billion Democratic plan to address the state deficit. They passed several pieces of legislation with a simple majority Thursday afternoon, avoiding the two-thirds requirement typically needed to approve tax increases.

Republicans did vote for some of the bills that made sweeping cuts to California programs. In all, the legislation trims more than $7 billion from schools, health programs and prisons.

Democrats and Republicans have been at odds since the beginning of November over how to solve the state's ballooning deficit. It is expected to hit $42 billion in the next 18 months.

Republicans did not support legislation Thursday to raise gas, personal income and sales taxes.

The package now goes to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's desk. He has not said whether he supports the Democrats' plan.

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