Governor, lawmakers close to budget agreement

LOS ANGELES Friday will mark the longest the state has gone into its fiscal year without an approved spending plan. There is no agreement yet, but all sides agree that the potential for a budget is in sight.

Gov. Schwarzenegger and the legislative leaders have been meeting regularly since the budget impasse began. During Thursday's closed-door meeting, it finally looked as if they were close to an agreement on solving the $19 billion deficit that plagues the state.

But in Atwater Village Thursday night voters expressed frustration with what they see as the continuing inability of state government to take action.

"I'm disgusted by everybody in Sacramento. They're just out for themselves," said Esteban Cota.

A state without a budget is a state that cannot pay its bills, and it's brought some stark realities home to the legislators and the state residents who depend on their decisions.

Spokesmen for all the legislative leaders have confirmed that they have what they are calling the "framework of an agreement" to solve the deficit and get a budget passed.

"The governor and Legislative leaders will work through the details over the weekend, and hope to come to a final agreement when they reconvene Monday," Schwarzenegger press secretary Aaron McLear said in a statement. Neither the governor's spokesman nor legislative leaders so far are releasing any details, or what they define as a "framework." However, Assembly Speaker John Perez of Los Angeles calls it significant progress.

They've been meeting in Schwarzenegger's private Santa Monica office because the governor has been feeling ill.

Legislative leaders are expected to take the budget proposal back to their respective legislative caucuses for review. A full legislature vote on the budget proposal may come in the next few days.

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