Transcript: CA Gov. Jerry Brown’s statement on the $1 billion state budget trigger cuts

Press conference on the $1 billion trigger cuts to the 2011-12 state budget (Dec. 13, 2011)

Transcript of Gov. Jerry Brown’s statement on the trigger cuts: 

“I’m just here to answer the questions in greater detail, and I’ll just give you the highlights.

“So today, the trigger cuts are going into effect, but fortunately not the full $2.4 billion but actually slightly less than a billion.

“So the good news is that the economy of California is recovering. As a matter of fact, this year alone, almost $100 billion of new wealth has been created in California. But it’s still not enough to close the California deficit that has been built up for years.

“Earlier in the year, we cut about $16 billion out of the state budget, and I proposed that we take care of the rest by continuing a number of taxes. That was turned down. We couldn’t get the two-thirds vote, so we had to cut further, and we put in these trigger cuts if the revenues we’d hope would materialize actually didn’t show up. And that’s where we are today. These cuts to universities, to in-home supportive services, to schools, to prosecution – they’re not good. This is not the way we’d like to run California. But we have to live within our means.

“We look out at the federal government borrowing almost half of what they spend every year. We look at Greece and Italy and Spain and the crisis throughout Europe. And it’s very clear – we don’t want to dig ourselves into a hole that becomes virtually impossible to climb out of. We’re not in that position.

“California has very sound finances. We’re on the road to recovery. And the trigger cuts, which are pulled today, are a part of that process of fiscal discipline.

“Going forward, in another three weeks, we will have a number of more cuts – far more than $1 billion – and they’ll be to the same kind of state services – very important – to help the poor, the elderly, our university students. But we don’t have the money, and we’re going to cut back.

“Then going forward, we’ll have an opportunity in November for the people to vote [for] additional revenue – almost $7 billion – or not. If they vote [for] the revenue, then our taxes will be extended for a few years. If they don’t, we’ll have even bigger cuts.

“So that’s the story today in a nutshell. $1 billion in cuts. More to follow in January. And hopefully, not any more to follow in November because we will have more trigger cuts. [But] for us to avoid that, people [have] to vote for taxes.

“So all I can say is that you can’t provide money you don’t have, and that’s really the point here. You either cut or you tax. There’s no third way. There’s no alternative.

“And as the governor of California, I’m sensitive to what these cutbacks do to real people, but I’m also aware that over time California does have to balance its budget. We have to exercise fiscal discipline, and as long as I’m around here, that’s exactly what we’re going to do.”



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