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Brown Announces Revised Budget, Calls For "Stoicism"

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(Sacramento, CA)
Monday, May 14, 2012
Listen to  Ben Adler's report for All Things Considered
"I've committed to righting the ship of state and getting it into balance," said Governor Jerry Brown at the Monday morning press conference. 
"What that means is that things that are good in and of themselves have got to be stopped or curtailed if we're going to have balance."
The governor's updated budget proposal released today includes nearly all the cuts he called for in January - such as welfare, child care and college financial aid. 
It also includes additional cuts - to health care for the poor, in-home supportive services and state employee compensation.
Meanwhile, Brown proposes five-and-a-half billion dollars in cuts to schools if his tax measure fails. 
That's equivalent to the cost of three weeks of classes.  The University of California and California State University systems would also lose money.
California's new budget deficit now stands at just under $16 billion. -Ben Adler

Lawmakers Call Brown's Budget Proposal Difficult

California Republican lawmakers are calling Governor Jerry Brown's revised budget proposal uglier than expected.

The Governor is asking for cuts to health and welfare programs, and a five-percent cut to state worker compensation to close a 16 billion dollar gap.

Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff says it relies too heavily on the Governor's proposed tax initiative.

"The biggest problem is that the Democrat leaders are just unwilling to enact the tough cuts that the Governor has called for," said Huff. "They're unwilling to do the tough public reforms they've been saying no to everything until they get into a situation like this and wring their hands and say the only way we can balance this is to go out and raise taxes."

Democratic Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg says the Governor did a good job but has laid out a difficult proposal.

"We will work assertively with the Governor and the Assembly to find some alternatives to the most egregious cuts," said Steinberg.

Democrats say passing the proposed tax measure in November is imperative to end the deficit. -Amy Quinton

Trigger Cuts Could Significantly Impact Environmental Programs

Governor Brown's proposed budget maintains most environmental programs intact. But he is calling for cuts to park and wildlife programs if voters reject his tax measure.  

The governor's back-up plan would trim more than $20 million from environment programs. 

For example, it would slash a million dollars in warden staffing from the Department of Fish and Game.

"It's  budget dust, it's such a small amount of money, yet the impact is going to be enormous," said Kim Delfino of the group Defenders of Wildlife.  "These men and women are really our last line of defence against poachers and polluters." 

The governor's trigger cuts would also eliminate all lifeguards on state beaches to save about one and a half million dollars.

The plan would cut $10 million from the state's firefighting budget.  Levee upkeep would also feel the pinch from a $6 and half million dollar cut to flood control programs.  -Kathleen Masterson

Health Services for the Poor Reduced in Revised Budget

The Governor proposes to save hundreds of millions of dollars by reducing funds to nursing homes and hospitals. The budget would also require Medi-Cal recipients to pay a small co-pay for health services and prescriptions.

Vanessa Cajina is from the Western Center on Law and Poverty says the new budget would be hard on poor people. 

"It's a part of a trend of the administration to be requiring more from people as the state's fiscal situation gets tougher," says Cajina. "But these are people who are just absolutely not in a place to be able to put up that kind of cash, or to give up those benefits." 

The Governor also calls for an almost 100 million cut to In Home Supportive Services. Some changes would require federal approval or they could face court challenges.  

Listen to Capitol Bureau Chief Ben Adler discusses the Governor's revised budget with Insight guest host, Rick Kushman.

Click to Listen

Earlier tweets from Ben Adler, covering the Governor's press conference:
10:20 a.m.
Gov. Brown's updated budget proposal would count on 5% savings ($400 million) from state employee compensation through collective bargaining.

Budget trigger cuts would hit if Brown's tax measure fails.Cuts would be $5.5 billion to K-14 education. That's the equivalent of three weeks' of classes, and cuts of $250 million to UC/CSU.

Brown urges "modicum of stoicism" instead of indulging in "immediate gratification." Translation: cut, don't spend.

10:05 a.m.

Under Brown's proposal, K-12 funds would would go from $47 billion in fiscal year 2011-12 to $54 billion in 2012-13 to $64 billion in 2015-16.

Additional proposed cuts would come from mortgage settlement funds for existing programs, not new programs. The proposed budget also uses leftover redevelopment funds.

Video released by the Governor's office over the weekend:

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