Senate Opens Debate on Budget, Tax-Hike Renewal

Months of debate about how to close California’s budget deficit is shifting to the first substantive discussions on whether to renew recent tax increases. Among the questions is whether it should be done through a vote of the Legislature or in a special election. The Senate is scheduled to meet Friday morning, as majority Democrats hope to find some Republican lawmakers willing to support an extension of the temporary tax hikes. Disagreement about whether to renew increases to the personal income, sales and vehicle taxes passed in 2009 ended the previous round of budget negotiations in March.

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