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Today's Conversation topic: the state budget impasse, and Gov. Schwarzenegger's proposal to end it it.
Schwarzenegger has proposed a temporary, one-cent increase in the sales tax to be followed by a quarter-cent cut in that same levy. He also proposes $2 billion less in spending than the Democrats who control the Legislature. And he wants an expanded rainy day fund that he says would smooth the ups and downs in the state's budget cycle by banking money in boom years and then drawing it down when the economy slows.
You can read my take on that plan here. My bottom line: Yes, it's a compromise, but it wouldn't solve the state's ongoing fiscal problems because much of it rests on temporary solutions.
Read Schwarzenegger's take on his own plan here.
Schwarzenegger's proposal is opposed by all four leaders in the Legislature. The Democrats say it spends too little, the Republicans say it spends too much. The Democrats say it taxes too little, the Republicans say it taxes too much. And the Democrats don't like the rainy day fund because, they say, it restrains the growth of government too much. The Republicans don't like it because, they say, it doesn't restrain government enough.
Here is Senate Leader Don Perata's take.
Here is Senate Republican Leader Dave Cogdill's opinion.
Here is Assembly Speaker Karen Bass on the governor's plan.
And here is Assembly Republican leader Mike Villenes.