Lawmakers Wary of Brown’s Accelerated Budget Timeline
On Thursday, California legislators said they would work to fast-track Gov. Jerry Brown's (D) budget proposal but expressed uncertainty about whether they could meet the governor's goal of passing a budget package by March, the Sacramento Bee reports.
The new governor is seeking bipartisan support to pass a deficit-reduction plan in less than seven weeks.
Meeting such a deadline would help Brown put a proposed extension of certain taxes on the June ballot. It also would provide the state with sufficient time to implement cuts to health and human services by June (Yamamura, Sacramento Bee, 1/14).
Brown's Budget Proposal
On Monday, Brown released a budget proposal that aims to balance the state's $25.4 billion deficit over 18 months with $12.5 billion in spending cuts and a five-year extension of income, sales and vehicle taxes (Thompson, AP/Ventura County Star, 1/13).
The governor'sÂ proposal would cut $1.7 billion from Medi-Cal, California's Medicaid program. It also would reduce spending on In-Home Supportive Services and Healthy Families, California's Children's Health Insurance Program (California Healthline, 1/11).
Michael Cohen, chief deputy director of the state Department of Finance, said Brown hopes to put the tax measures on the June ballot with a two-thirds majority vote from the Legislature, which would require support from both Republicans and Democrats (Sacramento Bee, 1/14).
After a Thursday budget hearing, Senate Budget Committee Vice Chair Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar) said Brown's proposal is a "nonstarter." He added, "My district has no appetite for raising taxes" (AP/Ventura County Star, 1/13).
Jon Fleischman, a state GOP official, said Republicans are unlikely to help Brown put the tax issue before voters because nearly every GOP lawmaker has signed a pledge to oppose tax increases.
Also during Thursday's budget hearings, several Democrats expressed concern about the governor's proposed cuts and the number of public employees who could lose their jobs as a result of the spending reductions.
Assembly member Sandre Swanson (D-Alameda) said state services have been slashed enough. He said more taxes would be necessary "so we could start rebuilding -- or not cut as severely -- the many programs that have already suffered cuts" (York/Goldmacher, Los Angeles Times, 1/14).
Anti-Tax Advocates Hold Summit
While legislators were reviewing the governor's budget plan, a group of about 85 anti-tax advocates gathered for a summit organized by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.
The group pledged to launch a grassroots campaign to keep Brown's tax plan off the June ballot or defeat the measures if they come before voters. The group also said they would not support Republicans who stray from their promise to oppose tax increases (Harmon, Contra Costa Times, 1/13).
Headlines and links to broadcast coverage of reactions to Brown's budget plan are provided below.
- "California Finance Director Pitches Budget to CalChamber" (Lieszkovszky, "KXJZ News," Capital Public Radio, 1/13).
- "Warning From Anti-Tax Groups" (Russ, "KXJZ News," Capital Public Radio, 1/13).
- "Lawmakers Scrutinize Brown's Budget Plan To Give Locals More Control" (Small, "KPCC News," KPCC, 1/13).