“Democrats are being asked to leave their comfort zone with more than $12 billion in cuts that will change lives drastically,” State Senetor Mark Leno said.
Brown’s budget would slash $8 billion in general fund expenses, including $1.7 billion in Medi-Cal and $1 billion from higher education.
But four other “cuts” involve taking outside money to reduce the state’s general fund burden by about $4.6 billion. These include $861 million in Proposition 63 mental health funds, $1 billion in First 5 early childhood development reserves, $1.7 billion in redevelopment funds and $1 billion in a fuel-tax swap that involves local transit money. While these items can be called “cuts” because other government entities will have less to spend, it’s misleading to suggest the state will reduce its own spending base by that additional $4.6 billion.
As for Brown’s $12 billion in revenue solutions, the governor relied on a bit of accounting magic to characterize the figure as $12 billion. Brown has proposed $14 billion in tax solutions, including an election to approve about $11 billion from extensions of higher general taxes on income, sales and vehicles. But his budget cancels out $2 billion in money that would go to schools under Proposition 98 due to the income tax extension, if the voters approve it. The $2 billion doesn’t make a dent in the state’s $26.4 billion problem, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t new tax dollars.
We need to come together and get this taken care of, NOW!