Assembly GOP proposes budget with no tax increases

May 12, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Gov. Jerry Brown will release his revised state budget next week. Thursday, Assembly Republicans detailed their plan -- one that promises no new taxes. It didn't take long, but the Assembly Republican plan is already being criticized for ignoring California's long-term financial problems.

The Assembly Republican budget proposal wipes away the remaining $14 billion deficit without raising taxes -- a stark contrast to Brown's plan that extends temporary tax hikes on personal income, sales and car registration for five more years.

"We still believe we can get there without taxes," said Assm. Connie Conway, R-Tulare. "We think that the voters have been very clear that that is their desire."

Republicans want to erase a chunk of the deficit by assuming a $5 billion windfall; tax collections are already up $2.5 billion. The proposal also assumes voters will go for emptying out special funds for mental health and kids programs, shifting $2.3 billion to the general fund.

GOP lawmakers target state worker pay and department budgets, saving $1.7 billion by cutting each 10 percent, and programs for the needy would be slashed $1.4 billion.

"Their document is basically looking at this as a short-term problem and is using highly risky assumptions," said Assm. Bob Blumenfield, D-Los Angeles.

California teachers, who've been in Sacramento all week pushing for Brown's tax extensions, say they would like the Republican proposal to give at least $2 billion of the windfall to schools, but the rest of the line items shouldn't suffer.

"It's not just a problem for schools," said San Jose teacher Don Dawson. "It's a problem for the entire state's budget. So that's everything from public safety, to the parks, to healthcare."

"When you don't tax people, they have the opportunity to grow more and spend more," said Conway. "So the pathway we're providing without taxes, we think will stimulate the economy even more."

Once they figure out this year, the battle will be far from over. The non-partisan Legislative Analyst predicts the state budget will have a $20 billion deficit every year for the next five years.

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