Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

Posted by Kevin Yamamura, SacBee CapitolAlert | http://bit.ly/fWAEyL

December 14, 2010 - In Round 2 of his budget roadshow, Gov.-elect Jerry Brown is trying his hardest to shellshock a California electorate that has grown weary of bad fiscal news over the last decade.

Brown called the situation "an unprecedented moment of reckoning," "a perfect storm," and suggested the budget crisis might have worse impacts than during the Great Depression because government played a smaller role in people's lives at that time.

He appeared with fiscal officials Tuesday at UCLA to focus on education finance, and he acknowledged that more cuts are on the way. The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office already assumes a $2 billion reduction in K-12 and community college funding for 2011-12 before lawmakers and Brown begin tackling the $25 billion to $28 billion deficit.

The Democrat made it clear he's not interested in one-time budget solutions -- more commonly dubbed gimmicks in Capitol parlance -- though he acknowledged that such provisions have allowed state leaders to "get out of town" and avoid tougher choices on cuts and taxes. Brown called those "non-solution solutions" since they push the problems to the next year.

Brown tried to convey the enormity of the deficit by pointing out how much the state would spend on major programs without any cuts. He noted that spending on Medi-Cal is $17.6 billion, prisons is $9 billion and welfare-to-work is $3 billion.

While Brown hasn't yet called for more tax revenues, he referred to the deficit as only a fraction of the state's overall wealth. He also included charts showing that California ranks poorly on expenditures per student and staff per student -- data sets often used in arguing for more money for schools. And he called the U.S. income inequality gap a "societal crisis."

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