Governor Jerry Brown's revised $91 billion budget plan for California will cut healthcare and welfare spending, and halt construction of new courthouses, he announced this morning in Sacramento. In addition, the budget would protect funding for education and public safety.
“This budget reflects the fact that the nation’s economic recovery is proceeding more slowly than anticipated,” said Governor Brown. “Lower tax revenues, coupled with federal government obstructions that blocked billions in necessary cuts, have created a deeper budget hole. More painful reductions will be necessary as a result, but education and public safety must be protected.”
While the new budget cuts $8.3 billion from government spending, it proposes a 16-percent increase in funding for K-12 education. In addition to the cuts, Brown proposes a temporary $6-billion increase in taxes to help pay for education and public safety.
The funds raised by these taxes are expected to help the state meet its Prop 98 requirements and to increase finding to schools and community colleges by $2.9 billion. If taxes are not approved, Brown says schools will lose $5.5 billion in funding.
"I'm laying out some pretty tough cuts," said Brown. "This is the best that I can do."
If Brown's tax increase is approved by voters, it will temporarily increase the income taxes for the wealthiest Californians for seven years and will increase the sales tax by one-quarter percent for four years.
California currently has a $15.7-billion deficit, almost double what it was four months ago, as tax revenues and state spending levels did not match up with Brown’s optimistic projections.
The last round of budget negotiations in Sacramento did not lead to a compromise, and once again the legislature faces a June 15th deadline to pass a fiscal plan.
What taxes are being proposed? How much revenue will they raise? Why were Brown’s projections for the budget so off the mark? What is the best way to reach a compromise on this issue?
Julie Small, KPCC, State Capitol Reporter
Assemblywoman Holly Mitchell, California State Assembly Democrat representing the 47th disctrict including Culver City and Crenshaw
Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen, California State Assembly Republican member representing the 25th Assembly District, which includes Modesto and Mammoth Lakes
Dan Schnur, Director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at the University of Southern California