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California deficit hits $16 billion; Governor Jerry Brown calls for cuts.

California’s deficit has hit $16 billion.

Not bad for a STATE, huh…? 😉

Actually, it’s going to be pretty bad for THIS one! :-(

Governor Jerry Brown released a revised deficit figure of $16 billion to give the state “something to chew on” before he presents his revised budget plan, with even DEEPER cuts, on Monday. The dramatically higher figure was released in a YouTube video on the Web today. Brown’s budget plan released in January had projected a $9.1 billion deficit for the fiscal year beginning July 1.

Administration officials declined to provide specific details on how they arrived at the new estimate or what would be included in the deeper cuts. The video was released by Brown’s campaign team for his November ballot measure to increase the income tax on high earners and the sales tax on everyone.

“Brown concluded his campaign statement with a call for Californians to join him in working to pass the measure, which the administration estimates would bring in $9 billion in additional tax revenue. He warned that if the measure fails, it would result in “severe damage” to public safety and schools.

Well, taxing the rich is certainly a good start. The state should ALSO consider increased taxation of companies that have OFFSHORED many of California’s jobs, which would otherwise employ Californians who pay state income and sales taxes. The state should ALSO consider taxing corporations who keep a lot of their cash banked overseas. As for public safety, California unconstitutional firearms laws have already severely damaged public safety, by tipping the balance to criminals who, by definition, don’t obey laws. Anyone who has been paying attention to budget cuts (and tuition increases) in the schools might be surprised that California’s educational system could be damaged any further!

Since passing the budget last June, Brown and Democratic legislative leaders have touted their work, saying they had slashed the $26 billion deficit left by Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger by nearly two-thirds. However, that budget plan relied on a number of risky assumptions, including a projection that tax revenue would grow by an additional $4 billion.

Most of that money never materialized, and federal officials and the courts have blocked proposed cuts to the In-Home Supportive Services program for the elderly, blind and disabled, along with rejecting increases in co-pays for hospital and emergency room visits for people on Medi-Cal.

The California Legislature has turned down about $1.5 billion for welfare and child care services as well as reductions in the Cal Grants program that provides financial aid to college students.

California legislators must pass a balanced budget by the July 15 deadline, but there is a June 5 primary that has their attention right now.

Want to place any bets that all of the ideologues in the California Legislature will MAKE the deadline? 😉 Even though the state has a huge Democratic majority that could pass a budget by itself…? 😉

One of the biggest fights will be over the “trigger cuts,” or automatic spending reductions if the governor’s tax proposal is rejected by voters in November.

The proposal would increase the sales tax by a quarter of a cent for four years. It also would boost the income tax for seven years by either one, two or three percentage points for people making more than $250,000 per year. The highest rate increase would affect those making more than $500,000 per year.

Under the governor’s January budget proposal, the automatic cuts would fall almost entirely on K-12 public schools and community colleges, with the UC and CSU systems also receiving significant midyear cuts. It is not clear if that would change under the governor’s revised budget.

Senator Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, chairman of the Senate Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review, said the new deficit “is as bad as our worst fears have been.” You may remember Leno as one of those in the Legislature who repeatedly re-introduces his failed legislation year after year (particularly as related to firearms shows at the Cow Palace), wasting time and adding to the cost of government.

Governor Jerry Brown will release the revised state budget on Monday at 10 AM in a Capitol news conference that will be streamed live on the California Channel,

-Bill at

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