California's budget...not so much fun in the sun

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In the 1990s, I spent five years living in Los Angeles, and I loved it. There's something very special, and almost mythical, about California.

But that's easy for me to say. I no longer live there. I just received a phone call from one of my friends, who has lived in Los Angeles since the 1960s, and if he is any indication, it's not quite as much fun as it used to be.

As has been widely reported, California is going through some financial crises, and as I write this, a budget agreement is close to being agreed upon between Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and the state legislature.

The good news is that the budget would close the projected $140 billion budget deficit at some point in 2010. The not-so good news is, well, not good, at least for those who aren't living on Hollywood celebrity budgets.

The sales tax is expected to go up by 1 cent on the dollar.

The vehicle license fee that motorists pay every year will likely double.

There will be a gas tax, probably jumping 12 cents more a gallon.


Paying your taxes? Well, an income tax surcharge of 5% is expected to be adding to everyone's tax bill.

And, of course, spending on state programs -- like helping the poor, who will be hurt the most by these policies -- that will be slashed by billions of dollars.

Judging from my friend's swearing, I'm guessing that this won't go down well with a lot of California residents.
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