Sacbee — Gov. Jerry Brown called Monday for additional spending cuts to health and welfare programs, as well as a 5 percent furlough for state workers, to help erase a budget deficit that has grown to $15.7 billion.
The Democratic governor relies on a patchwork of solutions to bridge the gap in a $91.4 billion general fund spending plan, including deeper cuts, his November tax initiative and taking money from a multi-state mortgage abuse settlement with banks.
Among the most unusual ideas: asking state employees to work four days a week for a total of 38 hours instead of 40, or 9.5-hour shifts. Brown suggested in the budget that the proposal would save operational costs by shutting down offices once a week in addition to 5 percent of salary. The proposal would likely have to be bargained with labor unions since Democratic lawmakers will not impose the cuts unilaterally.
The governor also proposed giving UC $38 million less than he did earlier this year. Both proposals make it more likely that UC will raise tuition in 2012-13 after UC officials said last week they needed an additional $125 million to avoid a 6 percent hike on students.
The governor said the state deficit had grown well beyond the $9.2 billion he originally estimated in January because of an overly optimistic revenue forecast and federal rejections of cuts in Medi-Cal and in-home care
Brown said the state and the nation has been living beyond its means. "There has to be a balance and a day of reckoning," Brown said. "This is the day of reckoning...We have to take our medicine."
The governor proposed additional cuts to Cal Grants for low-income students that would apply a stricter means test and impose new graduation requirements on schools. continue reading...