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A few whispers about California's budget

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Posted: Thursday, February 12, 2009 12:00 am

Expect a state tax increase soon — maybe more than one.

Expect California to start to get its spending under control with some sort of spending cap.

Don't expect California to start building a general fund reserve until the economy recovers.

Expect all kinds of service cut-backs and state staff reductions.

That was "the word" Wednesday around the state capitol.

I was up there with Sentinel managers Gary Greider, Theresa Larson and Rich Hanner attending the California Newspaper Publishers Association's annual Governmental Affairs Day.

Theresa and I visited Lodi's Assembly representatives — Democrat Alyson Huber and Republican Bill Berryhill. They and everyone else was waiting to "see" the budget.

It should be in print today. With every detail of California's spending "on the table" and with the door to the room with the table shut, the only specifics we heard about were options.

The tax increases might be a partially restored motor vehicle license fee. Or maybe an income tax surcharge. Or maybe a sales tax on services. Or maybe a 12-cent gas tax. Or maybe more than one of these.

Those few generalities above were all that was "known" yesterday.

Huber added this prediction about the budget: "We're going to spend the rest of the session fixing it."