Politics & Government

California legislature rejects plan that would close budget gap

The California Legislature's outgoing class debated, complained and pointed fingers of blame Tuesday — but in the end, it did nothing about the state's massive budget gap.

A last-gasp effort to ease a projected $27.8 billion shortfall over 19 months ended with a whimper as both houses, voting largely along party lines, killed a $17 billion Democratic package of tax hikes and budget cuts.

California's car tax would have tripled under the proposal, to 2 percent, reigniting a hotly controversial issue that helped spark the 2003 recall of former Gov. Gray Davis.

Funding for schools and colleges would have been sliced under the Democratic package, as would money for CalWORKs and many of the state's neediest residents — including the aged, blind and disabled.

The lame-duck Legislature's failure to act leaves the budget problem to the next class of lawmakers, which takes over Monday. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger plans to declare a fiscal emergency that same day, setting in motion a new special session with a 45-day deadline.

Read the full story at sacbee.com.