Written by David Greenwald Tuesday, 11 January 2011 07:01
In a statement, Governor Brown said that his proposed budget will be comprised half of budget cuts and half tax increases in order to attack a deficit that is estimated at $25.4 billion.
He added, "My proposed restructuring will return decisions and authority—as much as possible—to cities and counties and schools. And in that way, there will be greater accountability, transparency, and hopefully citizen participation because government will be closer to the people. Schools have borne the brunt of spending reductions, and in this budget, we are going to keep them at a level spending."
While he expressed confidence that the voters would approve extending, for five additional years, the temporary tax hikes that would expire this year, GOP leaders went on the attack Monday afternoon.
For his part, Governor Brown said at the press conference that he believes he has support from some Republicans to put his tax-extension measure on the ballot.
"I think we'll get some Republican votes," he said.
However, Republican leaders clearly disagree. Senate GOP leader Bob Dutton said on Monday that "zero" members of his caucus would vote for the tax plan laid out by the Governor.
"I am not open to the idea because nobody has demonstrated anything to me that shows we are going to do anything different than we have done before," the Senator Dutton said. "Voters were given this choice back in 2009 and they rejected it and frankly they were right to reject it. We didn't fix anything, so why would the voters believe you now that you're going to fix the problem even if they would give you five more years of the same thing?"
Senate Budget Committee Vice Chair Bob Huff joined Senator Dutton in calling for steeper spending cuts.
"Nobody wants to be with a hatchet in hand, going off and cutting programs, and yet we absolutely have to do that," Senator Huff said.
Meanwhile, Assembly GOP leader Connie Conway pointed out that voters had overwhelmingly rejected this very proposal less than two years ago.
"At this point, I think California voters have got to be feeling like the parent who consistently tells the child 'No.' How many times do we have to say no to taxes? I think they speak loud and clear," the Assemblymember told reporters on Monday. "Jobs are leaving the state, people don't have a job. Why aren't we looking at more jobs and more people working as a way to increase our revenue?"
Jerry Brown argued that Republican opposition to taxes is not locked in stone.
"They're not locked in stone in opposition," Governor Brown said at his press conference, "that to me says they're open but because of the various groups that really fight Republicans if they even vote for a tax extension, they'll be very hesitant."
"I'm trying to forge a consensus," he later said "A wide agreement."
The argument could be made to allow the voters to decide, and that simply putting a measure on the ballot is not tantamount to support.
There are other options of placing taxes on the ballot with a majority vote, something that the Governor would not rule out on Monday.
For his part, Speaker John Perez called the budget a good starting point.
“The Governor’s budget is the starting point of a responsible fiscal plan for California. I look forward to working with the Governor to approve a budget that will begin to eliminate our structural deficit and protect California jobs" he said in a statement.
Local Assemblymember Mariko Yamada, who represents most of Yolo County and the Eastern Half of Solano county, issued a statement Monday saying, “California’s chronic budget deficit compels us to consider difficult proposals, and I thank Governor Brown for facing these issues honestly. We must focus on quality service at the best price, without prolonging the recession."
She continued, “I continue to be concerned about the deep cuts to social welfare programs that provide the safety net for people suffering job loss, disabilities, and poor health through no fault of their own, especially our children and the elderly. The dismantling of proven and cost-effective alternatives to institutional and emergency care, such as adult day health care, is counterintuitive to the goal of deficit reduction over time."
“I look forward to working on these critical issues in partnership with the Governor, the Legislature and local officials as the budget process moves forward," Assemblymember Yamada concluded.
Governor Brown calls for two measures on a June special election ballot. First a tax package, and a proposal that would use $1 billion from cigarette taxes to fund Medi-Cal for children.
The current plan is to keep the level of funding to schools the same as this year, however, that proposal is contingent on voter approval of higher taxes on the budget.
Some of the budget cuts include: $1.5 billion from welfare; $1.7 billion from Medi-Cal; $500 million each from the UC and CSU systems; $750 million from services for the developmentally disabled; And $200 million from the state bureaucracy.
Those are painful cuts, even with revenue enhancements. Without them, we are looking at once again cutting the schools well past the proverbial bone.
How will the Governor fare with his initiative?
For his part, Governor Brown sounded a confident note on Monday, expressing confidence that voters would approve the extension of tax hikes for five more years.
Immediately, he was asked why voters would approve the same extension of tax hikes they already rejected at the ballot in 2009.
Governor Brown responded, "I think there are a significant number of people who have an open mind. … It depends upon the context and situation. There have been a lot of cuts. There have been a lot of cuts to schools over the years, and I think people will make a judgment."
Unlike his predecessor, Governor Brown is refusing to make threats as to what further cuts would be made if taxes were rejected by the voters.
"If it I tell them this is going to happen, some people might say I am putting a gun to their head," the Governor told reporters Monday.
Will Governor Brown succeed where his predecessor failed? Time will tell.
---David M. Greenwald reporting
THe public is fed up with the continuing budget deficits in Sacramento and I think there will be a huge backlash against politicians who vote against Jerry's plan. Give Jerry credit for trying to do something here.
If I had to bet I'd say the tax hikes are voted down but it may be close. That means another round of cuts, including K-12.
"If it I tell them, this is going to happen, some people might say I am putting a gun to their head," the Governor told reporters Monday."
Wait a minute, what's with the inflammatory speech here coming from the Governor? How insensitive, he should know better, especially after Arizona.
Words have consequences. Are you lefties going to jump all over this and call him on it?
I urge Democrats to swallow hard and line up behind this proposal, and Republicans to swallow hard and allow the tax measures to go forward onto the ballot. Brown is doing what he said he would do. This is as practical an alternative as any, and he promised in the campaign to bring the tax increases to the voters. They can see what the alternative would be if they vote down the taxes.
Republicans can vigorously oppose the tax measures and put forward their own budget solution as they do so. Democrats can decry the impact of the cuts. But unlike his predecessors, the new governor has taken several steps to show that he is serious about reducing government costs. His proposal to eliminate redevelopment agencies is startling, and likely to be opposed by some very entrenched interests.
dmg: "He added, "My proposed restructuring will return decisions and authority—as much as possible—to cities and counties and schools. And in that way, there will be greater accountability, transparency, and hopefully citizen participation because government will be closer to the people. Schools have borne the brunt of spending reductions, and in this budget, we are going to keep them at a level spending.""
Hmmmmmmmmm, turning state functions over to local authorities - sounds like passing the buck to me... and will there be comensurate funding to go along w the responsibilities of carrying out the state functions? My guess is if there is any accompanying funding, it will be far from adequate - this is what has happened to our county in the past, so the county has handed the state back some of the functions bc the funding from the state was inadequate to cover the costs...
I don't envy Brown this mess, and I think it would be difficult for anyone to deal with it, no matter how competent. But so far Brown is not inspiring a whole lot of confidence - but I think citizens also have to give him some time to get his feet wet and sort out whats what. I'm not a Brown fan, but I want him to succeed...
Most importantly, where are his plans to create jobs, jobs, jobs?
Hmmmmmmmmm, turning state functions over to local authorities - sounds like passing the buck to me... and will there be comensurate funding to go along w the responsibilities of carrying out the state functions?
Would you prefer services to originate more locally? or from the state/federal level? Beyond criticizing it as "passing the buck", it is a legitimate philosophical issue.
Elaine,Perhaps there is no short term budget fix for creating jobs. But, certainly, putting the State's fiscal house in order will go a long way toward attracting the industry that creates jobs . The taxes and cuts will hurt us all in the short run, but the jobs will return if the State succeeds balancing the budget, and in doing so, creating a business friendly atmosphere.
I think it's worth it to tie K-12 funding to passing the taxes. More than one poll in recent months has shown that the California public prefers to not have cuts to K-12 education, moreso than any other budget category (by 60%+ if I remember). Maybe the taxes don't pass, but at least the public can evaluate the consequences at the polls.
Setting up K-12 funding for next year's budget will be hell on district planning. Locally, I think it will be hard to set up any kind of teaching assignments until after the June election (if it happens).
"I urge Democrats to swallow hard and line up behind this proposal, and Republicans to swallow hard and allow the tax measures to go forward onto the ballot."
Jerry Brown's plan is almost exactly the same as the one Arnold Schwarzenegger proposed last summer. Channel 13 TV in Sacramento showed a graphic on their newscast last night about every major aspect of the plan and how the tax measures are the same, the cuts proposed are the same, and so on. They then showed an enthusiastic Darrell Steinberg advocating on behalf of Gov. Brown's plan. And then they showed an old tape of Steinberg telling a group of supporters how vicious Arnold's plan was.
I look forward to Mr. Steinberg taking more and more money from the unions--and then parroting whatever it is they tell him to say. The Democrats are stooges. The Republicans are right-wing ideologues. We are doomed.
Rifkin: "I look forward to Mr. Steinberg taking more and more money from the unions--and then parroting whatever it is they tell him to say. The Democrats are stooges. The Republicans are right-wing ideologues. We are doomed."
I have been disappointed in Steinberg for quite some time now...
rb: "Elaine,Perhaps there is no short term budget fix for creating jobs. But, certainly, putting the State's fiscal house in order will go a long way toward attracting the industry that creates jobs . The taxes and cuts will hurt us all in the short run, but the jobs will return if the State succeeds balancing the budget, and in doing so, creating a business friendly atmosphere."
I think you make very valid points here...
Don Shor: "Within the constraints of the current fiscal situation, how do you propose the governor "create jobs?""
Stop demonizing business for every ill under the sun for starters. Cut red tape for business to come here, figure ways to encourage business to locate here. Davis did it to get Mori Seiki here; West Sac seems to have done it for another high tech business...
I would say that Brown's proposal is very much like Schwarzenegger's because there are very few options. I don't really care if Steinberg is being a hypocrite. He isn't my legislator. Mariko has expressed her concerns, but doesn't state that she would oppose it. I don't really care how much various legislators want to fulminate. The point is that the budget needs to be balanced, and this is a compromise proposal based on the political and fiscal realities. Anyone who opposes it needs to put forward their own suggestions in detail.
Jerry Brown's plan is almost exactly the same as the one Arnold Schwarzenegger proposed last summer.
But Arnold was a lame duck last summer and had wasted his political capital. Also as a Republican it was hard for him to line up Democrats and now it only requires a 50% vote on the budget (except for taxes).
I don't see that we have any other (realistic) options. I'm tired of people making fun of my State and tired of dysfunction in Sacramento
Good column by Chip Johnson in today's SF Chronicle in which Johnson explains what is really missing from Brown's budget proposal:
Brown's first actions as governor were bold, but not nearly bold enough - because until he unveils his plans for pension reform, he has yet to reach out and display a willingness to touch the electrified "third rail" in state politics.
His next challenge will be taking on the practice that has allowed some police officers, firefighters and midlevel administrators to retire with six-digit pensions for the last 30 years.
"Meanwhile, down in the Lone Star State."
Good site to check the taxing differences between TX and CA. http://www.taxfoundation.org/r...ic/15.html
California seems to be constantly rewarded by Washington with them returning $.78 for every dollar provided. Meanwhile, the more anti-Washington red state of Texas almost breaks even at $.94 returned.
California's budget woes are more structural. Texas is suffering through the recession. Texans can also afford to tax themselves a bit and still be considered a low tax state. California is out of options for taxation given the relevancy and application of the Laffer Curve.
"putting a gun to their head"
This is the first and last time I will comment on this “language” issue since it is not the topic. However, I have to say any person defending this type of language while chastising Sarah Palin over her choice of words deserves to have their head examined to locate their missing objectivity processor. There is no room for nuanced defense or backpedaling on this. They both bring to mind disturbing imagery. If you cannot accept one, then you should not accept either.
Personally, I’m no fan of the hypersensitivity PC thing… I don’t mind what either has said. I think adults should accept artful and colorful language in politics. We would be much better off teaching people how to grow thicker skin, try a bit harder to get the point, and learn to be more sensitive of the less sensitive. However, if you must be that sensitive, then please do so consistently!
JB: California seems to be constantly rewarded by Washington with them returning $.78 for every dollar provided. Meanwhile, the more anti-Washington red state of Texas almost breaks even at $.94 returned.
And Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alaska and several other "red states" receive as much as $2 for every dollar they pay. Should I presume that they are more beholden to government money, even as their political representatives publicly argue for smaller government? What's wrong with this picture?
wdf1: "Should I presume that they are more beholden to government money, even as their political representatives publicly argue for smaller government? What's wrong with this picture? "
Is there a correlation? Can it be related to the population density of a state (e.g., the more population-dense, the greater the more likely to send money to the fed?) This is a dollar metric not a “per capita” metric. If it is a true "red state versus blue state" difference… maybe the GOP reps and Senators more effective at securing payments to their states, and blocking payments from their state?
In any case, I suspect there is some rational explanation other than just hypocrisy of the right for demanding smaller government while they simultaneously work behind the scenes to consume more federal dollars. Farming subsidies aside, you need to go talk to average Nebraska folk, and then go ask the same questions of the people living in Illinois.
We could look at this a different way and say since reds states detest sending dollars to the federal government they are motivated to find ways to prevent it. California and Illinois voters, on the other hand, seem to prefer a large and powerful federal government and so maybe they barely put up a fight when the fed reaches into their pocket.
Here is the link to a map that allows a person to compare all states profile of taxation: