AirTalk for December 12, 2011

Budget shortfalls will trigger major cuts, but who will be feeling the most pain?

Mercer 20133

JPhilipson/Flickr (cc by-nc-sa)

Los Angeles public schools, like Elysian Heights Elementary in Echo Park, are preparing for the coming school year. How will budget trigger cuts affect them?

When Jerry Brown and the legislature passed the state budget last year, they based their numbers on what some Republicans called "overly-optimistic" tax revenue projections. Unfortunately the numbers didn't go in their favor.

According to a recent analysis from the Legislative Analysts Office (LAO), revenues rose by $3.7 billion less than the lawmakers projected back in June. But Governor Jerry Brown was adamant about balancing the budget, so a mechanism was inserted in the budget that would trigger billions of dollars in cuts from important services if tax revenues weren't at projected levels.

The language states that the cuts would be triggered only after two different revenue projections were released. The first from the LAO, and the next from the Department of Finance. Whichever report showed higher revenues would be the report that the state would use to trigger the cuts, and determine how deep the cuts would be. That Department of Finance report comes out next week.

The agency's Deputy Director of External Affairs H.D. Palmer says their numbers are sure to be different from those the LAO came up with, because LAO has to finalize their numbers before a critical piece of data comes out from the state Franchise Tax board.

Either way, cuts are on the table, including $100 million apiece for the UC and CSU systems, reducing school funding and a small but significant cut to the state library system.

WEIGH IN:

Just how different will the two revenue projections be? The cuts have to go into effect by the beginning of the year; how much will be cut and who will be the hardest hit?

Guests:

Julie Small, KPCC Reporter

H.D Palmer, Deputy Director of External Affairs, Department of Finance


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