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The Latest: California Senate budget panel OKs spending plan

May 23, 2019

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on the California Senate’s budget plan (all times local):

6:11 p.m.

The California Senate’s budget-writing panel has approved a $214 billion spending plan that would make more people living in the country illegally eligible for government assistance.

The Senate Budget Committee’s proposal would expand eligibility for the state’s earned income tax credit to include people who have individual tax identification numbers. That would include immigrants living in the country legally and illegally who do not qualify for a Social Security number.

The proposal would also make low-income immigrants living in the country illegally eligible for the state’s Medicaid program.

State Assembly leaders plan to finalize their spending plan on Friday. The two chambers would then begin negotiations with the governor for a final plan.

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2:55 p.m.

The California Senate has voted to reject a new tax on most residential water bills.

The Senate voted 37-1 on Wednesday to approve a bill that would create a fund dedicated to improving the state’s drinking water. But the bill is clear the money could not come from a new tax on water bills. Instead, Senate leaders have signaled their intention to use $150 million of existing taxpayer money each year.

Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom had proposed a new tax of about 95 cents per month on residential water bills to improve drinking water systems. Because it’s a tax, it would be harder for lawmakers to divert the money for other purposes.

Many lawmakers balked at Newsom’s proposal because the state is projected to have a record $21.5 billion surplus.

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