Calif. Senate Passes Budget-Balancing Plan

The state Senate has approved a plan to close California's $26 billion budget deficit, giving the state a glimmer of hope after weeks of fiscal gloom.

The complex legislative package of 31 bills is still being debated in the Assembly.

Failure to pass any one of the bills could jeopardize the entire deal, potentially sinking California further into fiscal chaos.

Senators struggled through the early morning hours Friday to get enough votes to pass the more controversial measures, including taking billions of dollars from cities and counties.

The compromise plan before the 80-member Assembly and 40-member state Senate was announced Monday by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Democratic and Republican leaders of each house.

It eliminates nearly 60 percent of the with spending cuts to core state services such as education, state parks and prisons.

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