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Senate Dems to offer budget

The plan includes sales tax hike and controls on future spending.

August 29, 2008|Evan Halper | Times Staff Writer

SACRAMENTO — Democrats in the state Senate said they would attempt to break the budget impasse today by offering their own spending plan for a vote.

It would be the first floor vote on the budget in that house since the fiscal year began 60 days ago. The plan Democrats are offering is rooted in a proposal Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger unveiled this month. It includes a temporary sales tax hike and controls on how much the state could spend in the future.

It is unclear whether the proposal has the support of any Republicans. A budget cannot pass the Senate without at least two GOP votes. Senate Leader Don Perata (D-Oakland) suggested the governor may be able to persuade some Republican lawmakers to support the plan.

"If the governor can get a couple of votes, then we will have a budget," he said.

If the plan were to pass, it would go to the Assembly, where it would need at least six GOP votes.

Assembly Democrats are working on an alternative plan -- one that would allow them to raise taxes without the required two-thirds majority vote, according to people involved in confidential negotiations.

The plan would attempt to exploit a legal loophole by eliminating a tax cut that was put in place several years ago. Legislative lawyers have suggested it could be approved without Republican votes.

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evan.halper@latimes.com

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