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Governor skeptical on making July 1 budget deadline

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger isn't bullish on the state having a signed budget by July 1.

"Can I give you a guarantee today that we will meet that deadline? Absolutely not because there are some tough decisions that need to be made," Schwarzenegger said Thursday while promoting his health care plan. "As you know we have the structural deficit. ... We have $1.4 billion left in my May revise and we've got to meet that target no matter what."

He concluded by saying, "I'd like to meet the deadline, but I don't think there's a guarantee at all."

Republicans would like to balance the budget, but last week Assembly Republican Leader Mike Villines, R-Clovis, said he would settle for the governor's $103.8 billion General Fund spending plan. Democrats have added about $1 billion in spending, mostly for welfare programs, but they have proposed offsetting that by refusing to make early debt payments as the governor's budget proposes.

Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, D-Los Angeles, said Democrats are continuing to meet in budget conference committee to allow for a greater participation from Republican leadership.

Nunez added: "Our point of reference is the governor's May revision. Their point of view is the governor's May revision minus a couple billion dollars. So there's clearly a gap there."