California is facing a more than $20 billion budget deficit for the second straight year.
Legislative Analyst Elizabeth Hill says lawmakers will be forced over the next 19 months to fill in a $21 billion deficit — amounting to one quarter of the state´s total operating budget.
Plus, Hill says California and could face large deficits for at least six more years.
Hill blames the shortfall on slumping revenues, a plunge in exports and the dismal performance of the stock market. She also says Governor Davis´ current-year budget is out of balance because some expected federal funds and savings never materialized.
Hill is urging that the Legislature put everything on the table to repair the problem — including unpopular choices such as tax hikes, heavy cuts to programs and college tuition increases.