Politics

Brown ditches special election, seeks new budget

Monday, June 27, 2011

Late Monday afternoon, California Democrats approved a new budget plan and is very different from the one the governor rejected two weeks ago. This budget counts on billions of dollars in fresh revenue which, if it fails to materialize, could lead to major cuts.

Gov. Jerry Brown emerged with Democratic leaders of the Senate and Assembly. Together, they announced they have come up with a budget, one that this time, Brown says he is willing to sign.

"It has to be debated, it has to be voted, but as far as the leadership is concerned, we have come to some very important conclusions after a series of tough talks," Brown told reporters.

The deal comes two weeks after the governor vetoed a budget submitted by the Democratic-led legislature. Brown claimed their version contained accounting gimmicks.

As for this latest budget, it assumes the state will bring in an extra $4 billion in the upcoming fiscal year, based on higher than expected revenue figures in recent months. But if that $4 billion does not come through, steeper cuts would occur later in the year. K-12 schools could see an additional $1.5 billion in cuts, school transportation could see $250 million, health and human services $200 million and the University of California and California State University systems could also see $200 million in cuts.

"They get to decide what gets cut, you know, they get to say what programs exist and don't exist, so it's their decision," Assm. Connie Conway, R-Tulare, said. "So if schools close for a week, that is their decision, rather than making cuts in other places that would make more sense."

The new budget means the governor has given up on extending tax increases, something he only could have accomplished with the help of four Republicans. Instead, Democrats plan to put a tax-extension initiative on the November 2012 ballot.

"I thought we were getting close but as I look back on it, there is almost a religious reluctance to ever deal with a state budget that requires new revenues," Brown said.

A floor vote on this latest budget plan could take place as early as Tuesday

The new fiscal year begins Friday.

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Tags:
california budget crisis, state capitol, sacramento, jerry brown, democrats, republicans, politics, lilian kim
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