California Gov. Jerry Brown called on state lawmakers to embrace austere cuts and urged voters to approve tax hikes in outlining a revised budget Monday.
Brown proposed $8.3 billion in cuts across education, health care and welfare programs in laying out a plan to address the state's $15.7 billion shortfall, an amount equal to 17 percent of the state's discretionary fund. He warned that additional cuts are ahead if voters reject his tax-hike initiative in November.
"Cutting alone really doesn't do it," Brown told reporters in releasing his $91 billion general fund budget plan. "And that's why I'm linking the serious budget reductions — real increase to austerity — with a plea to the voters: Please increase taxes temporarily on the most affluent and everyone else with a quarter of a cent sales tax."
Brown, a Democrat, also is asking state workers to share the pain by taking a 5 percent pay cut, most likely by reducing their work hours. The pay reduction would be handled in contract negotiations with the state's public employee unions.
In addition to the cuts, Brown hopes to close the deficit with $5.9 billion in new revenue from the tax initiative he proposed earlier this year that would temporarily add a quarter cent in the state sales tax and collect higher income taxes on those who make $250,000 a year or more.
If voters reject the tax increases in the fall, Brown is proposing $6 billion in additional automatic spending cuts, almost all of which would fall on K-12 schools. The so-called trigger cuts could mean that some districts would have to cut the school year by up to three weeks.
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