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After talking about California's budget crisis for months in generalities, Jerry Brown is expected this week to make major decisions about the budget bill he will propose in January.

But not today - at least not publicly.

Brown and budget officials have just taken a stage in Los Angeles this morning for the second in a likely series of forums on California's budget crisis. The presentation is expected to resemble one last week in Sacramento, where Brown described the magnitude of the budget deficit.

The 72-year-old former governor told people in the audience when they applauded him, "I don't know if you'll be cheering after the budget comes out."

Brown has estimated the budget deficit to be as much as $28 billion. He has declined to say if he plans ask voters for a tax increase, though several sources have said they believe Brown will push for a special election to maintain higher vehicle, sales and income tax rates.

Logistically, major decisions about the governor's proposed budget bill must be made by about Dec. 15 - Wednesday - to be incorporated into his budget proposal, the Department of Finance said. Brown is expected to make those decisions by the end of the week.

"This is really a huge challenge, unprecedented in my lifetime," Brown said.

He said he has found a way to reduce the budget for the governor's office by 20 percent, and he said he is continuing to look for additional cuts.


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