The Governor’s revised budget and its victims

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Governor Jerry Brown today revised his budget to say the deficit will approach $16 billion.  And he says there are two ways to whittle that number down – cut spending, and pass his tax initiative on the November ballot.

Governor Jerry Brown, explaining his revised budget for California. Photo by Andrew Nixon.

The Governor used today’s announcement to pitch his plan to raise income taxes on the wealthy.  And raise sales taxes on everyone else by a quarter percent.

Whatever voters say to the tax hike idea, the Governor will have some big cuts to make.  With big fiscal and political repercussions.

‘That’s gonna be the choice that Brown lays out for voters,” said Anthony York, Sacramento reporter for the Los Angeles Times. Temporary tax hikes, “or $6 billion in cuts, most of it to public schools.”

Cuts to social service programs would disproportionately hurt our state’s least advantaged residents, said Vanessa Aramayo, director of California Partnership, an advocacy group working on behalf of impoverished people across the state.

“What we need to do is help make the state golden again,” said Aramayo, “and the only way we’re going to do that is to help the people on the ground, is to help working families, is to help the low-income and the most vulnerable.”

With that huge budget deficit and the threat of painful cuts, workers at the state courts, both criminal and civil, are bracing for the worst.  And that could have “devastating” effects on the California justice system, said Tani Cantil-Sakauye, Chief Justice of California.

“As the third branch of government,we’re not really allowed to have bake sales to raise money for the court’s services,” said Cantil-Sakauye. “One of the problems with increasing fees means that we are ending up having our people who use our courts, who have a right to use our courts, paying their way. And that’s fundamentally wrong that we would have a pay-for-play system.”

The new fiscal year begins July 1, and the Legislature has to pass a new budget by June 15.