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Budget Talks Continue…Slowly

Little progress was reported after several Legislature leaders met with Governor Gray Davis for more than an hour in an effort to find common ground on a state budget. The California state government is facing a projected deficit of more than $38 billion over two fiscal years.

Davis said after the meeting he still believes an agreement can be reached on a budget package before the new fiscal year begins July first. Davis says it should include major spending cuts and a temporary sales tax increase. Davis said the meeting exposed the disagreements between the Republican and Democratic leaders of the two chambers of the Legislature.

“I told both sides what they didn´t want to hear. I told Republicans that they have to step up to the plate and provide the votes needed to pass a temporary sales tax increase so that we can finance the deficit,” said the Democratic Governor.

The meeting proceeded although the Senate´s top Democrat left the session only a few minutes after it began. Senate President Pro Tem John Burton of San Francisco said he had better things to do at his own office toward handling the budget snarl.