Gov. Jerry Brown’s May budget revision, which he announced last week, is worse than originally projected. What once was estimated to be a $9 billion deficit has ballooned to almost twice that amount.
Thanks to the overreach of Proposition 13, California’s legislators have been powerless to raise taxes for almost 40 years. The only way the state can significantly raise taxes is through a referendum on the state ballot, which is typically subject to the reflexive hostility of voters. Brown has been barnstorming around the state, offering cuts in state programs, but demanding that California residents approve tax increases in return.
“You gotta live within your means,” he said recently on CBS. “There’s a day of reckoning.”
Brown’s proposal on the November ballot would increase the sales tax by 0.25 percent while increasing the income tax on people earning more than $1 million by 3 percent. This plan is expected to raise between
$8 billion and $10 billion annually.
If voters do not approve these taxes, Brown promises certain spending cuts will be triggered. These include cutting state health care programs for the poor by $1.2 billion and slashing welfare and child care programs by $1.3 billion.
“That’s just the way it’s gotta be,” Brown said. “The voters have to make a choice.” Read More