Gov. Brown Announces $1 Billion in Budget Cuts

Governor Jerry Brown said Tuesday that $1 billion will be cut from the state budget because money isn't coming into state coffers quickly enough.

The cuts to numerous departments and programs were triggered by state revenue projections that fell short of expectations and were written into this year's budget bill.

"They're not good. This not the way we ought to run California, but we have to live within our means," said Brown.

The cuts affect Medi-Cal, services for the poor and disabled, district attorneys, the juvenile justice system and prisons among many others.  The largest cuts come from education budgets including $330 million dollars from K-12 schools including $248 million from school transportation budgets. The University of California and State University system will each lose $100 million.  Community Colleges lose $103 million and must also increase fees by $10 per unit.

The cuts could have been $2.4 billion, but tax collections rose in November. But that's no gift from programs that experienced massive cuts over the past few years.

"The cuts they're proposing to K-12 will change the school system forever, for the worst. It's not what people want," said Joan Wynns, President of the California School Boards Association.

She also said transportation budgets are the biggest part of rural school district budgets and  that kids won't get to class without transportation money.

And low income mothers like Clarrisa Doutherd of Oakland say a $26 million cut in child care funds mean more moms like her will have to find cheap child care from unqualified providers. She had to quit her job to take care of her 4 year old son during the last round of budget cuts.

"We're making conditions unsafe for children and also creating a situation where there's more unemployment for working families," said Doutherd.

Brown said he knows how devastating the cuts are, but he says you can't spend what you don't have.

"The trigger cuts which are pulled today are a part of that process of fiscal discipline. We don't have the money and we're going to cut back," said Brown.

The governor hopes to hold the line on further cuts if a temporary sales tax increase and a tax the rich proposal on the November 2012 ballot is approved.

"I certainly would like to avoid doubling the cuts which will be the result if my tax measure fails," said Brown while acknowledging that a tax increase at the polls is an uphill fight.

Assembly Republican Jim Nielsen of Gerber goes farther saying he doesn't put much stock in a recent poll showing that voters are ready to pass a tax increase to combat budget cuts. He notes that there may be as many as four tax increase proposals on the ballot, including the Governor's.

"'The people of California are going to be very angry. When you're going to confronting the voters with all these massive tax increases, I think they're going to say no," said Nielsen.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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