Deal Near on Calif. Budget Gap

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 15, 2009 12:27 PM CDT
A state employee Carlene protests Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's furloughs and state employee pay cuts.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – The California Legislature and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger are just steps away from an agreement that would close the state’s $26.3 billion deficit, the Los Angeles Times reports. Talks are expected to conclude today. “I don’t think there is anything that would make negotiations shut down at this point,” the Democratic assembly speaker says; a deal on contentious education cuts appears to be key.

Lawmakers had been trying to avoid suspending a voter-approved initiative that guarantees school funding, and it appears the negotiations have hit on other cost-cutting measures. Californians can expect to see broad reductions in state programs—and even the elimination of some, like home care for the elderly.