President Obama and congressional leaders are engaged in high-stakes negotiations over billions in federal budget cuts that could have a dramatic impact on California's economy. But Gov. Jerry Brown refused to say whether or not he supports the reductions, urging lawmakers instead to be wary of the effect decisions in Washington can have on the state’s economy.
Billions in cuts to defense, healthcare and other programs are set to go into effect on March 1 unless Republicans and Democrats in Washington can come up with a replacement deal. The federal spending reductions could cost L.A. County as much as $2 billion in defense-related contract revenue, according to an estimate from the Los Angeles Economic Development Corp. Thousands of children in the state could lose access to early childhood education programs.
Speaking to reporters earlier this week, Brown acknowledged the cuts could also throw the state’s finances out of whack.
“They’re all a risk to the budget and that’s why we have to hold the line,” Brown said earlier this week. “I can’t discern what they’re going to do in Washington because I’m not even sure they know themselves. But the takeaway for California is that we have to maintain a prudent surplus because we could lose hundreds of millions of dollars by decisions that Congress makes.”
Brown is set to travel to the nation’s capital next week as part of the National Governors Assn. meeting. As of now, he has no announced plans to meet with the state’s congressional delegation or administration officials while he’s there, but is scheduled to attend a White House meeting with other governors.
When asked if he wanted to see the current cuts in defense, healthcare spending and other federal programs go into effect, he said, “I can’t tell you about that. It’s a moving target.”