I was at the San Francisco redistricting commission hearing, so I missed a rather major breakthrough in the budget negotiations: a deal between the Legislature and the Governor.
Gov. Jerry Brown and Democratic legislative leaders announced today that they have reached an agreement on a new majority-vote budget plan.
“We’ve had some tough discussions, but I can tell you that the Democrats in both the Senate and the Assembly have now joined with the administration and myself and we have a very good plan going forward with the budget,” Brown said at a press conference in his office this afternoon.
The proposal, outlined in this post, assumes that the state will bring in an additional $4 billion in revenues in the upcoming fiscal year, based in part on higher-than-expected revenue figures in recent months. If those revenues fail to materialize, steeper cuts to programs including K-12 schools, higher education, public safety programs and In-Home Supportive Services would occur later in the year.
“We have severe trigger cuts that will be triggered and go into effect (without the projected revenues),” Brown said. “And those are real.”(SacBee)
The cuts are very real and very substantial. However, they were cut by an additional $4b in extra revenue that wasn’t previously accounted for. The “trigger” makes Ana Matosantos quite a powerful person as she has to certify how much of that revenue has actually shown up. I guess you could play with semantics for a while to determine whether this is actually a “gimmick,” but it does push off some of the really hard decisions until next year.
Ultimately, this budget does what our previous budgets have done, it gets us into next year. And the cuts are simply devestating. At some point, we have to address the structural deficit, and this doesn’t do it. Whether that is through a long-term reform like Prop 13 changes, or through a more temporary tax program, something has to change.
More details of the budget should come out tomorrow.