By Nicole Vera |Staff Writer|
Higher taxes and $4.2 billion in social spending cuts are the focal points of Gov. Jerry Brown’s 2012-2013 budget plan, released Jan. 12.
Social welfare programs that would lose millions in funding include Medi-Cal, child care services and CalWORKS.
California voters are also being asked to approve a referendum that would result in a temporary raise in taxes for the next five years on the November ballot.
Should the referendum pass, sales tax would raise 5 percent. Income tax would be raised by 1 percent to families making $250,000— and more for millionaires.
In his annual State of the State speech on Jan. 18, Brown defended his measures saying, “The cuts are not ones I like but the situation demands them. As for the initiative, it is fair. It is temporary. It is half of what people were paying in 2010. And it will protect our schools.”
If all goes as planned, it would take care of California’s $9.2 billion dollar deficit. This is significantly smaller than the over $20 billion deficit that Brown had to originally deal with.
Sid Robinson, associate vice president of University Affairs said, “[The proposal] is optimistic but relies heavily on healthy revenue.”
According to the Legislative Analysts Office, estimated revenue has been lower than anticipated for the past couple years.
When asked if he believes voters will approve the tax hike, vice president of CSUSB’s Office of Administration and Finance, Robert W. Gardner said, “It’s hard to tell. The problem for education is that it’s a moving target.”
The California Republican Party remains skeptical as to whether or not the referendum will even pass.
In an official response California Republican Party (CRP) Chairman Tom Del Beccaro criticized Brown tactics saying, “We have the highest combined tax and regulatory burden in the country. Those policies make California uncompetitive and costs us jobs.”
Not only are taxes and cuts an issue but the proposal also includes spending plans for long-term projects, including $1 billion to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and funding for a high-speed rail line.
“Californian’s have had to cut back on their budget, it’s time for California to do the same,” said Beccaro. “Instead of the 21 percent increase in spending that Jerry Brown proposes over the next three years, plus high-speed rail, it’s time for California to actually reduce.”
Beccaro also said that proposals that California Republicans will be suggesting their own proposals to help with the state’s budget problems.
Brown disagrees saying, “California has problems but rumors of its demise are greatly exaggerated.”
He went on to compare critics of the high-speed rail project to those of the Panama Canal, Interstate Highway System, and Suez Canal saying, “The critics were wrong then and they’re wrong now.”