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State Budget Cuts Will Take Time

California lawmakers said they will not act until at least next month on $10.2 billion in midyear budget cuts proposed by Governor Davis.

Many of the majority Democrats say the proposal unveiled last week would cut too deeply into schools and services for the poor.

Legislators assembled today for the beginning of an emergency session – only to meet briefly and announce that their staff would be analyzing budget issues this week before budget hearings scheduled for next week.

Senate Leader John Burton says the lawmakers want to know exactly what the cuts will cost the taxpayers and future generations.

Lawmakers will have to decide how to fill a two-year budget deficit expected to exceed $21 billion by 2004. Davis last week proposed a sweeping package of cuts over the next 18 months – including $3.1 billion in cuts to public school spending and $2 billion in cuts to welfare and health care programs. Davis is asking lawmakers to act by the end of January on those cuts.