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Governor Jerry Brown releases revised California budget

May 16, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Governor Jerry Brown releases his revised budget proposal. He says that while the deficit has shrunk by billions of dollars, there are billions more to go.

The state budget is due next month, and with time running out, Brown says Plan A, asking voters to approve tax extensions first, is no longer possible. The new Plan A is to ask voters second.

Even though Brown's revised budget proposal reflects California's improving economy, he will still try to get tax extensions through, asking the Legislature first, then turning to voters to ratify them after the fact.

"This is a program that's honest, it's all laid out there, and I think it makes a lot of sense for California," said Brown.

Brown's plan includes:

  • More than $6.6 billion in extra revenue over the next 14 months
  • The deficit shrinks to $10.8 billion, including a billion dollars in reserve
  • Schools are slated to get $3 billion more than Brown proposed in January
  • Brown still wants to extend the higher sales tax and car registration fees for five more years, but cut the income tax extension to only four years

Brown says the tax extensions are still necessary because of what he calls a "wall of debt," the bills coming due after previous administrations used accounting gimmicks to push deficits to later years.

"I proposed a stable, balanced program," said Brown. "If that is defeated in the Legislature, or even if it's defeated by the voters, then there will be other efforts to deal with this wall of debt/structural deficits."

Republicans continue to pan the idea of extending the taxes given that the economy is doing better and is slowly refilling state coffers.

"Raising taxes only invites continued profligate spending," said state Assemblyman Jim Nielsen (R-Gerber), Assembly Budget vice chairman of the Assembly Budget Committee. "I'm not confident as he is that there are votes for tax increases."

A few disabled protesters are feeling uneasy about the budget, which could mean fewer hours of in-home care.

"If I don't have her come the next morning to get me out of bed, I'm stuck in that bed and my life could also be possibly in danger," said Costa Mesa resident Christie Rudder, an in-home care recipient.

Brown's plan notes that without the tax extensions, public education gets another $5 billion cut. That's four weeks cut off from the K-12 school year, and 52,000 community college courses eliminated.

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