Republicans in the state Assembly have unveiled what they’re calling a pathway for balancing California’s budget.
Republicans say their plan would eliminate the 15 billion dollar deficit without the tax extensions that Democrats and Governor Jerry Brown support. The GOP proposal relies on shifting more than two billion dollars from First Five and mental health programs. Republicans also want to use unexpected tax revenue to fund schools and law enforcement.
GOP Assemblyman Jim Nielsen says the new revenue strengthens the Republican argument against taxes, saying, “the average citizen is driven by rational thought and in their minds, if there’s a substantial additional revenue, in their minds, I am strongly of the opinion that undermines the argument for extending taxes on them for five years.”
The Republican plan also calls for a roughly one billion dollar cut in state employee costs. That could mean layoffs or pay cuts. And the proposal includes cuts to health and social service programs that Governor Jerry Brown proposed, but Democrats rejected.
Democratic Assemblyman Bob Blumenfield chairs the budget committee. He says he’s “disappointed” with the Republican budget proposal. “What it communicates to me at least, as I look at is, they’re not serious about solving the long-term problems of the state and they’re just going to punt on those,” he said.
Governor Brown’s Press Secretary refers to the plan as “funny math.”
State Treasurer Bill Lockyer calls the Republican proposal to rely on extra tax revenue foolish, saying, “maybe they think Tinkerbell will fly in and make the shortfalls vanish with pixie dust.”
Governor Jerry Brown will weigh in with his revised budget proposal on Monday.