Jerry Brown Signs Budget Cuts
Jerry Brown turns to YouTube again this week to deliver the news that he signed billions of dollars in cuts into law for the state of California. The entire press conference was webcast live and then uploaded to the video sharing site, which Brown later tweeted.
The exact amount of budget cuts is disputed, depending on whether you ask state Democrats or Republicans. The San Francisco Chronicle quotes the governor and explains the discrepancy between parties:
"We are only halfway to the goal line," he said after signing the bills, which Democrats say are worth about $10.8 billion in cuts and Republicans argue are closer to $7 billion in spending reductions.
The two sides disagree on the total dollar figure the cuts represent, because Democrats include in their definition shifts of money from certain funds - like transportation weight fees or mental health services - to the general fund, while Republicans count just permanent spending cuts.
Governor Brown was frank about the next steps needed to address the remaining state deficit: "I would expect to be talking more to the Republicans to find out if some of them, at least a few, will vote to give the right of the people a vote on whether they want $12 billion more in cuts or they want to extend some existing taxes that they have been paying over the last two years."
Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg added, "usually a signing ceremony with a governor is a cause for celebration, and this isn't a cause for celebration."
Cuts to the state budget include taking money away from Medi-Cal (state health insurance for the poor) and raising tuition for community colleges and state universities. And while Brown has been protective thus far of K-12 public education, AP reports that if the tax extensions fail to pass, the next round of budget cuts will hit schools hard.