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Brown, Democrats try Plan B to solve budget

June 27, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Governor Jerry Brown and the Democratic majority in Sacramento are trying to hammer out the framework for a new state budget.

Monday they examined a plan calling for automatic cuts if they don't get the money they're hoping for.

Brown waved the white flag of surrender Monday, saying he cannot get the remaining two Republican votes he needs to ask Californians in a special election whether to pay for temporary tax hikes a bit longer.

On to Plan B.

Brown and Democratic leaders reached a deal Monday they say can pass without Republican votes this week. The fiscal year ends Thursday.

The new plan basically relies on a continued windfall, since revenues so far been above forecast this year.

Four billion dollars is the target number of excess necessary revenues. If that number is not met. If that number does not materialize, then a pre-determined list of cuts would automatically trigger in the middle of the fiscal year, around January, according to the Senate President's Office:

  • Public schools: $1.5 billion
  • School transportation: $250 million
  • Health and human services: $200 million
  • UC/CSU: $200 million

"I thought we were getting close, but as I look back on it, there is a almost religious reluctance to ever deal with the state budget in a way that requires new revenues," said Brown Monday.

"They get to decide what get's cut. They get to say what programs exist and don't exist. So it's their decision, so if schools close for a week, that is their decision, rather than making cuts in other places that would make more sense," said state Assemblywoman Connie Conway (R-Tulare), assembly minority leader.

The bottom line for Californians: On Friday, July 1, state sales tax will drop 1 percent. The vehicle license fee will decrease by almost half.

The governor and Democratic lawmakers believe they can shoot for a ballot initiative in November 2012 to ask voters then whether they want to pay the temporary tax hikes again to be able to stabilize state finances.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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