Brown Signs $8.2 Billion Away

Thursday, Mar 24, 2011  |  Updated 3:48 PM PDT
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Brown Signs $8.2 Billion Away

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SACRAMENTO, CA - JANUARY 10: California Governor Jerry Brown speaks to reporters as he announces his proposed budget at the California State Capitol on January 10, 2011 in Sacramento, California. Governor Brown announced a balanced state budget that cuts spending by $12.5 billion and includes an eight to ten percent cut in take home pay for state employees and proposes a "vast and historic" restructuring of government operations. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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Governor Jerry Brown signed bills that cut about $8.2 billion from California's nearly $27 billion deficit.

Brown said he has told his labor union allies they should be open to concessions that Republican lawmakers want on public employee pensions in exchange for GOP votes on the budget.

The governor's signature will increase the fees at community colleges from $26 per unit to $36 per unit and defer $2.1 billion in payments to K-12 schools to 2012-2013.

The bill will also reduce spending for programs that support mentally ill and disabled residents.

He said Thursday that if Republicans fail to get changes now, conservatives could try for even bigger concessions with a future ballot initiative.

A group of GOP lawmakers wants changes to pensions, regulations and a spending cap in exchange for their votes on Brown's plan to call a special election.

The Democratic governor wants to ask voters to extend sales, vehicle and personal income tax hikes for another five years and cut about $12.5 billion in spending.

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