Jerry Brown to unveil plan to close California’s $16-billion deficit

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Gov. Jerry Brown is scheduled to unveil his revised budget plan on Monday and detail how he will close California’s $16-billion deficit.

The size of the gap nearly doubled over the last four months as Brown’s optimistic projections from his January budget were repeatedly dashed. Tax revenues are coming in lower than the governor assumed, the state is spending more money than it was supposed to. Courts and the federal government have rejected several of Brown’s cash-saving cuts.

The governor couldn’t get his fellow Democrats in the Legislature to agree to cuts in social services he proposed in January, when the deficit was $9.2 billion. Now, budget negotiations will begin in earnest to try to meet the June 15 deadline for passage of a new fiscal plan, which Brown is scheduled to release at a 10 a.m. Sacramento news conference.

Brown’s proposal has been a tightly guarded secret, but observers are expecting deep cuts in social services. The administration has warned state employee unions that payroll will be reduced. And the governor will assume that part of the deficit will be closed by tax hikes he is asking voters to approve in November.


His spending plan will include ‘trigger cuts’ to some of the most politically popular programs -- including K-12 schools -- that will kick in if voters reject the initiative to increase the sales tax by a quarter of a cent and levies on those making more than $250,000 annually by 1 to 3 percentage points. The taxes could bring in as much as $9 billion in the upcoming fiscal year.

‘We can’t fill a hole of this magnitude with cuts alone without doing severe damage to our schools,’ Brown said in a YouTube address released Saturday. ‘That’s why I’m bypassing the gridlock and asking you, the people of California, to approve a plan that avoids cuts to schools and public safety.’

Watch the address below:


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-- Nicholas Riccardi