California legislature approves budget bill

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The California legislature passed a long-awaited budget early Thursday after an epic battle that involved several all-night sessions, sending the governor a package of bills that raise taxes and cut spending to help close a $42 billion deficit.


Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, praised the bill, passed by the Democratic-controlled Senate and Assembly. He came out of his office after the budget vote and disconnected a large deficit clock counting the number of days — 106 as of Thursday — that the Legislature had failed to act since he declared a special session to deal with the state's fiscal problems.

"I'm absolutely delighted about the budget passing," Schwarzenegger said outside his office.

The budget deal flew through the Assembly less than an hour after it won approval by a single vote in the Senate after late-night horse trading to win over a final Republican vote. The vote marked the end of the Senate's longest session at 45.5 hours.

The package included a combination of spending cuts, tax increases and borrowing, intended to close a projected multibillion dollar deficit and avert fiscal disaster for the state.

It trims California's current fiscal year spending by nearly $13 billion from $103 billion down to $90.7 billion. For the 2009-2010 bookkeeping year, which begins July 1, it sets a spending plan of $96.3 billion.

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