Tuesday, December 13, 2011

He sure isn't a tax-and-spend liberal (we think)

You know Republicans will attempt to tar California governor Jerry Brown with some label when he goes up for re-election. But tax-and-spend liberal probably isn't going to work.

As the Los Angeles Times reports, the governor announced some (painful) spending cuts today that are likely to affect every Californian.
Gov. Jerry Brown announced nearly $1 billion in new cuts to state spending on Thursday, slashing spending on higher education in California and eliminating funding for free school bus service but avoiding deeper cuts that many had feared.

The long-anticipated cuts are due to California's tax revenue falling below the optimistic targets that Brown and legislative Democrats used when they approved the state budget in June. "This is not the way we'd like to run California, but we have to live within our means," Brown said at a midday press conference.
To give you just one example of the cuts to higher education, consider what the University of California announced late today.

Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday announced a $100 million reduction in funding for the University of California — part of a package of mid-year cuts triggered by a state-revenue shortfall exceeding $2 billion.
“We’re not surprised, but we’re extremely disappointed,” UC’s media relations director, Steve Montiel, said in response to the announcement. “This additional cut will heighten the negative fiscal impacts experienced by the UC community over the past few years, including a $650 million cut earlier this year.”
However, UC has said there will be no mid-year tuition increase as a result of the cut, and that campuses will not be asked to make further sacrifices.
Yes, the governor was backed into a corner; as Bloomberg notes, the Democrats put some poison pills into the budget negotiations with Republicans
Brown took action as his finance office predicted revenue for the fiscal year that began in July will fall $2.2 billion below budgeted levels. The governor is seeking a ballot measure to raise income taxes on individuals making more than $250,000 a year and boost the sales levy.
Brown and Democrats inserted the automatic spending cuts into the $86 billion budget they passed in June, with a provision to trigger the reductions if revenue failed to match estimates built into the fiscal plan. They said at the time that the nascent economic rebound was likely to increase tax revenue by $4 billion more than was forecast a month earlier.
The so-called trigger cuts were developed after Democrats failed to win Republican support to keep $11 billion of temporary tax and fee increases from expiring. The automatic cuts were intended in part to ensure that the state would have enough cash on hand to repay investors who bought $5.4 billion of short-term cash-flow notes, which come due in June.
Oh, and as for the "tax" portion of that tax-and-spend label, consider this story from the San Jose Mercury News

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