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Budget Battle Rejoined

California Assembly members return to Sacramento today for another effort to approve a state budget, now one week overdue. The majority Democrats in the Assembly need to convince four Republicans to vote for the budget, which requires a two-thirds majority. The $99 billion budget proposal was approved in the Senate last week with one Republican joining Democrats. Republican Assembly members voted in a bloc last week. In particular, the Assembly Republicans oppose the $3.6 billion in tax increases. Last year, Governor Gray Davis signed a larger state budget 26 days after the July first start of the fiscal year. This proposed budget has sharply reduced state spending, due to an estimated $23.6 billion revenue shortfall.