CA Gov. Jerry Brown files tax initiative to avoid deeper cuts to education & public safety

California Gov. Jerry Brown has filed a ballot initiative to raise sales and income taxes to help the state bridge a projected $13 billion deficit for fiscal year 2012-2013. 

In an open letter to Californians, Brown explained that the temporary tax increases are needed to avoid deeper cuts to education and public safety programs.

Although the 2011-2012 budget saw $12 billion in cuts, the state’s tax revenue have fallen short of spending by $3.7 billion. The revenue shortfall will trigger $2 billion in automatic cuts to education, public safety, and social services.

Read more: Painful ‘trigger cuts’ likely for California in 2012

Even with the trigger cuts, California will still face an estimated $13 billion deficit in fiscal year 2012-2013, forcing lawmakers to make yet another round of massive spending cuts next year.

“The stark truth is that without new tax revenues, we will have no other choice but to make deeper and more damaging cuts to schools, universities, public safety and our courts,” Brown wrote.

If approved by voters in 2012, the governor’s initiative will raise the state sales taxes by 1/2 cent and impose a 2% income tax increase on families making more than $500,000 a year. The tax increases will last for five years and generate approximately $7 billion, according to Brown. The additional revenues will be spent only on education and public safety, including funding the governor’s public safety “realignment” necessitated by the Supreme Court’s order to drastically reduce the state’s prison population.

Read more: California attempts to fix broken prison system with ‘realignment’

State Republicans, who successfully blocked Brown’s prior attempts to place the tax measures on this year’s ballots, attacked Brown’s latest efforts.

“Despite their rhetoric, it is clear that our state’s projected $13 billion budget shortfall is not the result of a lack of revenue, but rather that Democrats want to grow government spending by $10 billion next year,” said Assembly Republican Leader Connie Conway (Tulare). “Assembly Republicans will again stand united as the last line of defense for taxpayers and will fight these reckless taxes every step of the way.”

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5 Comments on “CA Gov. Jerry Brown files tax initiative to avoid deeper cuts to education & public safety

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