During Governor Brown’s press conference Monday, he was asked what would happen if voters reject the continuation of taxes set to expire this year. He replied, take all the budget cuts we’re making now and multiply by 2. Ouch.
The cuts he announced are already severe and draconian. They are across the board, and not on ideological grounds. Among them are plans to: eliminate redevelopment agencies, cut UC and CSU funding by 25%, axe $3.2 billion from Medi-Cal and welfare-to-work, reduce K-12 funding to minimum levels, lower state employees pay by 10% for those who have not already had cuts, eliminate funding for local libraries, hire less staff for wildfires, eliminate First Lady staff and Sec. of Education, and cut prison spending by shifting it to local governments.
Remember, this is just the first round of cuts. His plan – which is sly, devious and also completely transparent – is to let the impact of these cuts sink in, no doubt accompanied by a great gnashing of teeth and the sounds of lamentations being heard throughout the land, then propose a ballot measure that would extend current taxes by 18 months. It would send much of the money to municipalities in preparation for the state offloading many programs onto them. His pointblank message is, either vote to keep the taxes or accept further painful budget cuts. He’s quite transparent about this. In a welcome change, he clearly wants to treat voters like adults, present all the facts openly, and not demonize the other side.
Will it work? Does California have any other choices?
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