Don’t Break Out the Budget Schnapps Yet

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Gov. Schwarzenegger often breaks out the schnapps to toast a job well done. But it's not time to do this with the budget.

The news late Thursday that the governor and legislative leaders had found a "framework" for a deal -- what that means was not explained -- touched off bits of optimism that the record-long delay in passing a budget for the new fiscal year might soon be over. Aides expressed hope that an agreement could be reached by Monday.

Don't hold your breath. The rule of thumb is that when somebody tells you a budget agreement is more than three days away, there's no real budget agreement. Bet heavily on further delay. I wouldn't be surprised if you see headlines by Saturday that budget talks have broken down again.

Here's my guide, from 2009, to the special language known as "budget deal optimism" language.

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