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State”s Budget Deficit: $21 Billion

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.