Dec 4, 2014 1:38 PM by News Staff
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - The state Senate faces a budget shortfall of up to $4 million this fiscal year, helping explain why it laid off 39 of its roughly 1,000 staff members last month.
Senate officers had previously said that fiscal problems were to blame for the cutbacks.
Dan Reeves, chief of staff in the Senate president pro tem's office, tells The Sacramento Bee that the deficit resulted from slow budget growth during the recession, higher health care costs and having too many employees.
He says the constitutional formula that the sets the Legislature's budget provided a smaller than expected increase this year.
Officials hope for a budget increase of at least 3 percent next year to help bridge the gap. Employees also will begin contributing to their health care coverage.
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