Calif. Senate passes $96.3B Democratic budget

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The state Senate has passed a $96.3 billion Democratic spending plan amid sharp party divisions over whether it will lead to future problems for California's budget.

The Legislature has until midnight Saturday to send the governor a balanced budget, but the plan was expected to get majority votes in both houses on Friday.

It passed the Senate on a party-line, 28-10 vote, and was to be voted on later by the Assembly.

Republicans spoke against the plan, which was agreed to by the Legislature's Democratic leadership and the governor's administration earlier in the week.

They said it contained accounting gimmicks and failed to address some of the state's most pressing fiscal time bombs, including tens of billions of dollars in unfunded public employee pension liabilities.

Republican Assemblyman Jeff Gorell of Camarillo also said it contains additional spending that will come back to hurt the state once the higher sales and income taxes passed by voters last fall expire.

He says Democrats have positioned the state "to repeat the mistakes of the past."

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