California’s nonpartisan Legislative Analyst, which advises the Legislature on budget issues, has outlined the depth of the cuts that will be needed to balance Calilfornia’s books if voters reject the Governor’s proposed tax plan to bring more money into the state coughers.
To close the state’s budget deficit over the next year and a half, Brown has proposed about $12.5 billion in spending cuts and borrowing and wants to ask voters in a June special election to extend the temporary tax increases for an additional five years ($5.9 billion in 2011-12, growing to $7.2 billion in 2014-15). Extending the income, sales and vehicle taxes is part of Brown’s plan to raise roughly $12 billion through tax and fee increases.
The Feb. 10 letter responds to Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, who asked the Analyst’s Office what the Legislature could do if voters or lawmakers reject the proposed extension of tax hikes suggested by Gov. Jerry Brown. The LAO offered $13.5 billion in alternatives, presuming under Leno’s request that the ballot taxes would not succeed and other revenue ideas like eliminating enterprise zones would fail.
According to the memo, California would have to allow oil drilling to be expanded off the coast of Santa Barbara; end class-size reduction efforts in kindergarten through third grade; reduce wildland firefighting; and stop support for various public safety programs.
Those cuts, and more than 100 others, are outlined in the letter and provide a stark look at the realities of California’s budget crisis. Following are some of the actions provided on the list (click image for larger version):
GOP lawmakers have indicated they want pension reform and a spending cap to help future budgets, as well as reducing environmental red tape to make it easier to do business in the state.
“It shouldn’t be just taking money from one source and moving it over to another,” Senate Republican Leader Bob Dutton said. “That’s not a real cut. That’s more of the same smoke-and-mirrors that we’ve used in the past that’s gotten us into this trouble.”