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California Legislature’s Budget Awaits Action By Brown

Newest version calls for deep cuts to higher education, would exclude tax extensions favored by the governor and would enact a state tax for online purchases

The California Legislature approved a 2011-12 budget Tuesday night that counts on additional revenues and deep cuts to higher education to make up the state’s nearly $10 billion deficit.

The plan was presented to Gov. Jerry Brown at 9:45 p.m., but as of Wednesday night, he had neither signed nor vetoed it. Brown vetoed the Legislature’s first attempt two weeks ago, calling it unbalanced, but has reportedly been more supportive of this version.

Brown issued a statement after the vote, saying, “Democrats in the California State Legislature made tough choices and delivered an honest, balanced and on-time budget that contains painful cuts and brings government closer to the people through an historic realignment.

“Putting our state on a sound and sustainable fiscal footing still requires much work, but we have now taken a huge step forward.”

The budget proposal was passed by the Democratic majorities in both houses and doesn’t include the tax extensions Brown has pushed hard for, but does order that online purchases include state sales tax from now on, which Amazon has publicly protested.

The budget bill includes $650 million in cuts to each the University of California and California State University systems and delays millions of dollars in reimbursements to community colleges. The cuts translate to about a 23 percent funding cut, the Los Angeles Times reported.

If the $4 billion in expected revenue doesn’t come to fruition, there would be $1.5 billion in cuts to K-12 education.

Many social services would lose millions of dollars in funding, including mental health programs, and 70 state parks would be closed. The list, as of May, doesn’t include any parks or state beaches in Santa Barbara County. Click here for a map of state park closures as of May’s revised budget proposal.

Legislators haven’t been paid since June 15, when State Controller John Chiang suspended their pay until they passed a balanced budget as mandated by a voter-passed proposition.

Click here to view the budget document online.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk or @NoozhawkNews. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.

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