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Brown Warns Of Deep School Cuts If Taxes Rejected

California faces a smaller budget deficit in the coming fiscal year but will require nearly $5 billion in cuts to public education if voters reject Gov. Jerry Brown's plan to raise taxes in the fall, the governor's office said Thursday in releasing its budget proposal for the 2012-13 fiscal year.

For more on Brown's budget proposal, watch Thursday's show.

Evening Edition airs weekdays at 5 PM and 6:30 PM on KPBS TV.

The governor's office projected the state's budget deficit for the fiscal year starting July 1 at $9.2 billion, much more manageable than the $26.6 billion deficit the Legislature closed for the current year.

The number was first reported by the Los Angeles Times after the governor's Department of Finance mistakenly posted the budget document online. It has since been removed.

The total general fund budget for the coming year is $92.5 billion, about $7 billion more than the current year.

During the press conference, Brown said of the budget, "This is not nice stuff, but that’s what it takes to balance the budget."

If voters reject those tax increases, Brown's budget says he will call for an automatic cut of $4.8 billion from public education. That is the equal to three weeks of school.

Earlier Thursday, Brown told reporters "there'll be a lot of cuts" if his initiative fails.

To address California's ongoing shortfall, Brown has proposed raising the income tax on those who earn $250,000 or more a year and boosting the state sales tax by a half cent. He is trying to gather support for a November ballot initiative.

"Cuts are never nice, because government does a lot of good things. But we'll have the tax measure proposal, we'll have some cuts, and then we'll have some trigger cuts in the event that the tax measure does not succeed," he said.

San Diego school officials reacted by saying they are caught in a familiar bind. If voters approve new tax revenue, teacher layoffs and cuts in class sizes can be averted. But should Brown's bleakest projections come to pass, severe cuts would be needed in the middle of the next school year.

You can view the full budget proposal from the governor's office here. Read the budget summary below:

Governor Brown: 2012-2013 Full Budget Summary

Governor Brown released his budget proposal today, Jan. 5, 2012.


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