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Surprise! California has a budget surplus

What's rarer than a conservative in Hollywood? A surplus in Sacramento. Gov. Jerry Brown's new budget closes the $25 billion deficit he inherited — and even shows a modest budget surplus.

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California Governor Jerry Brown points to a chart showing the budget surpluses in coming years, as he unveiled his proposed 2013-14 state budget at the Capitol in Sacramento. Gov. Brown proposed a $96.7 billion general fund budget for the 2013-14 fiscal year that wipes out years of deficits and even includes a modest budget surplus.

Rich Pedroncelli / AP

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A budget surplus hasn't been seen in California for years, and finessing the state constitution's balanced budget mandate has required increasingly complex fiscal contortions. But riding a wave of new tax revenue, California's new budget will increase by nearly $5 billion while still offering a small surplus — a sign that the poster child for fiscal mismanagement is emerging into brighter days.

Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday proposed a $97.6 billion general fund budget for the 2013-14 fiscal year that wipes out years of deficits and even includes a modest surplus.

The additional revenue hiked the spending plan by 5 percent over the current year and helps the governor pour more money into public schools and universities.

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The state's budget shortfall stood at $25 billion when Brown took office two years ago.

"California today is poised to achieve something that has eluded us for more than a decade — a budget that lives within its means, now and for many years to come," Brown said during a news conference at the Capitol.

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