Gov. Jerry Brown calls for $12.5B in spending cuts

January 10, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
Gov. Jerry Brown unveiled a spending plan to address California's $28 billion budget deficit, and it includes $12.5 billion in spending cuts. He made it clear that the budget cuts will be deep and painful for nearly everyone.

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Among the $12.5 billion in spending cuts include:

  • $1.7 billion from Medi-Cal, making patients provide co-pays and limiting doctor visits.
  • $1.5 billion from CalWorks, reducing lifetime benefits from five years to four years.
  • $1 billion hit to the University of California and California State University campuses.
  • Up to 10 percent pay cut for state workers not in collective bargaining agreements.

Brown touts that he didn't propose any cuts to K-12 public schools, so they get the same amount of money as last year. But Brown proposes that $2 billion in funding be deferred next year. Schools believe they'll never see the money and consider it a cut.

"For 10 years, we've had budget gimmicks and tricks that pushed us deep into debt," Brown said in a statement. "We must now return California to fiscal responsibility and get our state on the road to economic recovery and job growth."

Brown also wants the Legislature to call a special election in June to give voters an opportunity to continue hikes in the income, sales and vehicle taxes for five years. His proposal relies on new revenues of $12 billion.

"What I propose will be painful," the governor said. "It's going to take sacrifice from every sector of California."

Voters just two years ago rejected an extension of the taxes as part of a package of ballot measures promoted by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and lawmakers.

He also wants to streamline state government starting with his own office, where he's eliminating cabinet secretaries and cutting communications staff.

Brown's proposal assumes the state Legislature would pass a spending plan by March -- a date unheard of in recent legislative budget debates that have dragged on into the fall.

California's economy has continued to falter since the recession hit. Its unemployment rate has been stuck at 12 percent or higher since August 2009. The recession has led to a steep drop in tax revenue, with general fund spending in this year's fiscal spending plan about $16 billion less than it was just three years ago.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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