Senate Passes Budget
The State Senate has approved a California budget for the fiscal year that starts tomorrow. The Assembly was to vote today on the budget designed to cover a state revenue shortfall of $23.6 billion. One Republican senator crossed party lines and joined the majority of Democrats voting for the measure yesterday. That achieved the necessary two-thirds margin. But in the Assembly, four G-O-P votes are needed to join the majority Democrats for the budget to pass. A committee of budget negotiators from both chambers approved a tax package Friday night that includes a two-year increase in vehicle license fees and a 63-cent-per-pack hike in cigarette taxes. Both Republicans on the joint committee opposed the tax and fee increases.