Don’t forget to come to the Occupy May 1st General Strike meeting on January 7th. Noon at Corazon del Pueblo, 2003 E. First St, Los Angeles, CA 90033 (that’s near Cummings, east of the Golden State Freeway I-5.
Gov. Jerry Brown is playing a game of chicken with the voters, pass my tax increases or we cut education again. The welfare cuts are simply a given, after all those people don’t count, right? The poor will have to count on the State Legislature to save them from the draconian fire breathing Brown dragon.
We must respond as citizens and as concerned parties and insist upon no cuts in welfare budget and no cuts in education. The tax on the wealthy to pay for the education deficit is a nice touch, but we cannot leave the poor to scramble for pennies on the street.
It is time we tell the state to cut back on spending on prisons, not by cutting services to inmates but by eliminating prison terms for victimless crimes like prostitution, drug use, migration, and excessive highway construction and repair. It seems that we could put some of that money to mass transit improvements and subsidies. Government for the people, not for the rich.
January 5, 2012
Jerry Brown budget cuts $1 billion from California welfare
Gov. Jerry Brown proposed Thursday slashing nearly $1.4 billion in welfare and child care aid for the poor while holding voters liable for $5 billion in education funding with a November tax measure.
The Democratic governor announced his January budget plan this afternoon after his proposal was inadvertently leaked on his Department of Finance website.
He estimates the state faces a $9.2 billion general fund deficit through June 2013, which he proposes to bridge with mostly cuts and taxes. Brown will ask voters to pass a $6.9 billion ballot measure in November that raises taxes on sales and income starting with single filers earning $250,000 a year. The taxes would last through 2016.
“With the tax program, we will eliminate the budget deficit finally, after years of kicking the can down the road,” Brown said.
With or without the taxes, Brown is calling for a base level of $4.2 billion in cuts, including the $946 million to welfare-to-work and $446 million to subsidized child care. He also would save $842 million in Medi-Cal by moving recipients into managed care plans.
The welfare cut would save money largely by cutting welfare for parents who don’t meet work requirements after 24 months, compared to 48 months now.
If voters approve his tax measure, K-12 schools and community colleges would receive $4.8 billion more than they do in the current fiscal year, for a total of $52.5 billion in state and local tax revenues. Those schools are already owed a significant share of that $4.8 billion under existing formulas and past promises made by state leaders.
If the measure fails, the state would cut that funding. It would provide schools the same amount they receive in the current fiscal year, though districts may have to borrow more money to keep their programs intact, an option many may find difficult. Districts also face growing labor costs each year, while they have already cut school days, laid off teachers and eliminated art and music programs to make ends meet.
If the taxes fail, the state would also cut $200 million each to the University of California and California State University systems, which have relied on large tuition hikes in recent years to offset state budget cuts. Even if the taxes pass, CSU would get no increase in state funding this year; UC would receive $90 million toward retirement costs.
Brown wants the Legislature to enact his social service cuts by March, but Democratic leaders have dismissed his call for early action. Last spring, state tax revenues outpaced expectations enough for Brown and lawmakers to assume nearly $12 billion more than the governor anticipated last January. Democrats do not want to make cuts now, only to find out that tax revenues come in higher again this spring.
“I do not see us taking cut action between now and the May (budget revision),” Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, said Wednesday. “We’ve done enough damage on the cuts side. And the cash situation is pretty good. And it isn’t like February of 2009 when we were close to heading over the cliff. I just don’t see the need to make early cuts.”
Posted by Kevin Yamamura
Read more here: http://blogs.sacbee.com/capitolalertlatest/2012/01/brown-budget-cuts-1-billion-from-welfare.html#storylink=cpy
Brown Budget Sends ‘Ransom Note’ to California Voters on Taxes
Michael B. Marois and James Nash, ©2012 Bloomberg News
Friday, January 6, 2012
Jan. 6 (Bloomberg) — California Governor Jerry Brown proposed a budget that would lop off the equivalent of three weeks from the public school year if voters reject his proposal for $7 billion in temporary tax increases.
The $92.6 billion spending plan Brown unveiled yesterday for the year that starts in July boosts spending by 7 percent from the current year, even though the state faces a $9.2 billion deficit. The increase is to be financed through economic growth, higher income taxes on those making at least $250,000 a year and expanded sales levies.
Brown, a 73-year-old Democrat who approved $16 billion in cuts last June, said the state would have to slash another $4.8 billion from education if voters fail to approve his tax plan at the polls in November. The largest U.S. state by population has perennial budget crises and Standard & Poor’s worst credit rating among its peers.
“It’s the most expensive ransom note in California political history,” Dan Schnur, a former aide to Republican Governor Pete Wilson and now director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, said yesterday in a telephone interview.
Brown wants to raise income taxes on individuals making at least $250,000 a year to 10.3 percent from 9.3 percent. For those earning $300,000 to $500,000, the rate would climb to 10.8 percent. For single filers with income above $500,000, the tax would rise to 11.3 percent. Californians with income of more than $1 million are now taxed at 10.3 percent.
He also wants to boost retail sales taxes to 7.75 percent from 7.25 percent. The higher income and sales levies would expire after five years.
Brown has been trying to forge a coalition with unions and some business groups to raise the money needed to gather enough signatures to put the measures on the ballot. His effort for a voter initiative on higher taxes last year was blocked by Republican lawmakers.
“There are people who say we shouldn’t scare the voters,” Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, a Democrat from Sacramento, told reporters in the capitol yesterday. “I agree with that. But on the other hand, it is our obligation, the governor’s obligation, to inform the voters. The voters aren’t going to want to lose three weeks of the school year.”
Brown dismissed the notion that he was threatening to cut school funding to win support for his tax increase. His finance director, Ana Matosantos, noted that public schools, from kindergarten through 12th grade, account for 40 percent of state spending.
‘Where the Money Is’
“That’s where the money is,” Brown told reporters at a news briefing yesterday.
The new budget, Brown’s second since taking office one year ago, would slice $4.2 billion from existing spending, including almost $1 billion from welfare and another $842 million from the state’s health insurance program for the poor. School spending will increase by $4 billion, or 11 percent under his plan.
Brown’s proposal to cut health-care and welfare programs while maintaining education spending illustrates the disparate view voters have of those expenditures, Schnur said.
“There are lot more Californians who attended public school, or who have kids in school, than who receive health-care or welfare benefits,” Schnur said. “This budget recognizes the vast political difference between cuts in one versus the other.”
Health, Welfare Cuts
Brown’s budget also finances a shift in some health, welfare and prison programs to counties, which he has called realignment. His ballot measure also would include a constitutional protection of the money needed to keep paying counties for those services.
“The state of California is a very generous, compassionate political jurisdiction,” Brown said. “When we have to cut spending, that spending is going to come from programs that are doing a lot of good. It’s not nice. We don’t like it. But the economy and tax statutes of California make just so much money available.”
The $4.8 billion additional cut in education would be automatic if voters turn down Brown’s tax increase. Similar so- called trigger cuts aren’t new. Last month, Brown had to make $1 billion in additional cuts, including eliminating a $258 million busing subsidy, and trimming $230 million from higher education and $200 million in programs that help the elderly and disabled, after revenue fell below his estimates.
“The boomerang could be that it makes voters more angry if they feel they’re being threatened,” state Senator Doug LaMalfa, a Richvale Republican, said in a telephone interview yesterday. “Voters don’t cotton to being threatened.”
Brown and fellow Democrats in the Legislature inserted those automatic reductions in the $86 billion budget they passed in June. They said at the time that the nascent economic rebound was likely to boost tax collections by $4 billion more than had been forecast a month earlier.
Then the recovery was shaken by Europe’s widening debt crisis and an impasse over raising the U.S. debt ceiling. In December, Brown’s Finance Department said revenue for the fiscal year ending June 30 would probably fall $2.2 billion below projected levels.
The cuts were intended in part to make sure that the state had enough cash on hand to repay investors who bought $5.4 billion of short-term cash-flow notes, which come due in June.
“The governor’s budget continues the progress made last year toward restoring stability, solvency and sanity to the state’s finances,” California Treasurer Bill Lockyer said yesterday in a statement. “It’s an honest, balanced and prudent plan.”
–With assistance from Christopher Palmeri in Los Angeles and Alison Vekshin in San Francisco. Editors: Pete Young, Paul Tighe
To contact the reporters on this story: Michael B. Marois in Sacramento at email@example.com; James Nash in Sacramento at firstname.lastname@example.org