Monday, January 10, 2011
SACRAMENTO, Calif. Governor Jerry Brown has proposed a budget that calls for deep spending cuts to welfare, higher education and social services. He’s also asking Californians to extend income, sales and vehicle tax increases for five more years.
Brown released his plan Monday to close a gap of at least $25 billion. The Governor said given the size of the deficit, the extra revenue is needed.
"We’re going to face the music," Brown said. "If we don’t have the taxes it’s going to be extremely difficult, even draconian, if I could use that word."
The one area spared under Brown’s spending plan is K-12 education. He said schools have been cut enough in recent budgets.
The Governor’s budget also calls for a major shift in control over welfare and corrections programs from the state to the local level.
Brown said he hopes to go to the voters in June to ask them to extend the tax increases.
Governor Brown also wants to eliminate state funding for redevelopment agencies. Those agencies use property tax revenues that would otherwise go to cities, counties and schools to fund local redevelopment projects , including San Diego’s Gaslamp district.
John Shirey heads the California Redevelopment Association, which lobbies on behalf of local agencies. He called the governor’s proposal penny-wise, pound-foolish.
"We think it’s a shortsighted proposal that really doesn’t gain much in the way of savings to the state – and at the same time, puts a very important economic engine out of business," Shirey said.
The governor proposes phasing out the current funding and redirecting it to schools and local governments. The budget projects an additional $200 million for the upcoming fiscal year and nearly $2 billion in the fiscal year after that.