Brown Warns of Big Cuts if Californians Don’t Back Tax Plan

California governor Jerry Brown is urging voters not to reject the tax increases he’s trying to establish for the November ballot, warning that the alternative would mean cuts of up to $4.8 billion in public schools, write Anthony York and Nicholas Riccardi at the Los Angeles Times.

Brown told reporters “there’ll be a lot of cuts” if his initiative fails, writes Judy Lin at the Huffington Post.

“Cuts are never nice, because government does a lot of good things. But we’ll have the tax measure proposal, we’ll have some cuts, and then we’ll have some trigger cuts in the event that the tax measure does not succeed.”

Brown’s budget looks to close the current gap through a combination of spending cuts and tax increases, which would kick in at year’s end. It is believed this measure would provide $4.4 billion in revenue.

But if this tax initiative is rejected, it is estimated that the cuts that would be implemented would work out to be the equivalent of three weeks of the school year.

A majority of the Legislature needs to approve the budget, but the Democrats are wary of implementing these cuts until they receive new revenue estimates in May, in case the economy continues to improve and erases more of the deficit.

And the governor is also disappointed to have not been able to get the four GOP votes necessary to put his plan to extend higher sales, vehicle and income taxes to the voters, writes Anthony York at the Los Angeles Times.

“I did think asking voters to vote on a tax was profoundly different than raising a tax.

“It turned out that those two notions are conflated in the Republican mind.”

Education is the biggest item in the state budget, and the spending plan assumes billions in additional revenues from passage of his tax initiative.

This comes as California enacts $1 billion in cuts across a wide array of state programs, including in universities and school transportation. Brown called these cuts necessary as tax revenue was coming in much lower than lawmakers had anticipated.

However, K-12 seems relatively undisturbed, as officials from the San Diego Unified School District had anticipated cuts up to $30 million early next year for K-12 schools, however as the reductions will be between $7 million and $8 million that works out as a more palatable $13.18 per student.