Calif Senate approves Democratic budget bills

SACRAMENTO, Calif.

The budget bills approved Wednesday would impose a higher vehicle registration fee and a surcharge on rural residents who depend on the state for fire protection. They also left in place a quarter-cent local sales tax increase, although a larger sales tax hike is scheduled to disappear next month.

The Assembly was continuing to vote on the Democratic package, which is not the budget deal Democrats or the governor ultimately want to close California's $9.6 billion deficit. The governor will continue to negotiate with minority Republicans in a bid to extend several expiring tax increases.

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