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Calif. Assembly passes most of US$26B budget plan

THE state Assembly has approved a plan to close most of California's US$26 billion budget deficit, sending the package of financial fixes to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The Assembly rejected two of the most controversial measures, a plan to take about US$1 billion in transportation funding from local governments, and allowing oil drilling off the California coast for the first time in 40 years. That was to have brought in US$100 million this fiscal year.

The loss of US$1.1 billion from the budget package essentially eliminates the US$900 million reserve fund Schwarzenegger negotiated with Democrats and Republicans.

That will force him to use his authority to make even deeper cuts to close the gap.


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