State Senator Bob Huff issued an “I told you so” Monday following the release of Governor Jerry Brown’s revised state budget, which cuts $8.3 billion in an effort to close a $15.7 billion deficit.
Huff, Sierra Madre's representative, pointed out that Democrats had the chance to avoid a deficit, but failed to act.
“Unfortunately, the Governor’s increased budget deficit was predictable,” said Huff, who is also the Senate Republican Leader. “Senate Republicans have consistently raised concerns that last year’s majority vote budget relied on too many phony spending reductions, other irresponsible revenue assumptions, and gimmicks. As state revenues have been increasing, total spending has also increased by $20 billion since the 2007-08 state budget.”
In a YouTube video posted Saturday, Brown said the state's deficit was in fact closer to $16 billion, “not the $9 billion we though in January,” he said during the two-minute address.
The gap grew because Brown over-estimated tax revenues by $4.3 billion and the federal government and courts blocked $1.7 billion in cuts the state wanted to make, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The May revision proposes an additional $4.1 billion in cuts, far deeper than those proposed in the January, officials said. It cuts state employee compensation, welfare, health care, higher education, courts and other critical government programs bringing the total amount slashed to $8.3 billion, state officials said.
“We can’t balance the budget with cuts alone; that would just further undermine our public schools,” Brown said. “The budget I am proposing will boost funding for education, protect public safety and prevent an even deeper round of trigger cuts.”
To achieve this goal, Brown has placed an initiative on the November ballot that will enact a temporary three percent income tax increase on the wealthiest Californians for seven years and will also increase the state sales tax by one quarter of one percent for four years, officials said.
“My proposal is modest, fair and temporary,” said Governor Brown. “It won’t solve all of the state’s problems, but it will help dig us out of a deep hole and protect our schools until the recovery is complete.”
If the tax initiative does not pass in November, $6 billion in additional cuts will go into effect Jan. 1, officials said.
But Huff said much of the problem has been how unwilling Democrats have been to implement needed reforms, even with Republican support of the Governor’s pension and welfare-to-work reforms, and his requests for spending reductions.
“Despite an 11 percent unemployment rate, two million Californians out of work, and California being ranked the worse state in the nation to do business 8-years in a row, the Governor and Democrats have no proposals to help grow the economy or to help our small business community,” Huff said. “Republicans believe we must get people back to work, which in turn will responsibly increase our state tax revenues.”
Visit http://gov.ca.gov/home.php to read Governor Jerry Brown’s full statement on the revised budget.