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Brown says slash spending, keep tax hikes

Original post made on Jan 10, 2011

Gov. Jerry Brown said today (Jan. 10) that he is proposing to close the state's $25.4 billion budget gap by cutting spending by $12.5 billion and extending temporary tax increases that were enacted under the Schwarzenegger administration. There will be huge impacts from the cuts.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, January 10, 2011, 2:34 PM

Comments (22)

Posted by Local-Control-Really-Works, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 10, 2011 at 10:35 pm

> Brown said his realignment plan will return decisions and authority
> to cities, counties and schools and "allow government at all levels to
> focus on core functions and become more efficient and less expensive"
> by reducing duplication of services and administrative costs.

For Palo Alto .. core functions like running a golf course, a children's zoo, a children's theater, spending $150M on a library that isn't needed, and operating a airport for people who don't live in Palo Alto, and have no intentions of paying for the cost of running the facility.

At the same time, roads go unpaved, and the San Francisquito Creek still is a threat to North Palo Alto during the rainy season. Yep .. Gov. Brown really knows how to get this problem solved .. if other cities are like Palo Alto.

Posted by Good luck, Brown, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jan 11, 2011 at 5:43 am

Maybe Brown, being a Democrat, can get the support needed from the Democrat controlled legislature to cut the spending, finally, that Schwarzenegger could not he went directly to the people, who voted his good policy proposals down. Too many folks here can't stand the idea of a Republican doing something right, but maybe they can stomach a Democrat doing it.

I wish him luck. I voted for Whitman, believing her to be more in tune with this idea, but maybe he will be more successful. I have a hard time believing this State can cut any spending in anything..but one can always hope. Our State needs it.

Posted by Good luck, Brown, a resident of Meadow Park
on Jan 11, 2011 at 7:41 am

Now that I have had a chance to read what the cuts are in, I am disappointed. For a moment, I thought they may be responsible cuts...but now, I see it is merely a game. Cutting services to the developmentally delayed and MediCal is a political foil to try to blackmail the people to vote for more taxes.

Web Link

I guess I shouldn't be surprised who Brown is NOT cutting...prison costs ( at over $50,000/year per person..with the best health care in the nation) for example would upset the unions and the prisoners..Can't have that, can we? They vote, and the developmentally delayed don't.

I don't see any cuts to "Environmental Protection", one agency I would dearly love to see cut, but it was his baby, so that won't happen.

Perhaps "Reorganization" and "Other cuts" include such things as "General Government"..if so, good for them..I hope it works.

Cutting pay to those not in contract right now also is a good move.

On the other hand, I completely support the 'skin in the game' approach to the MediCal cuts ...charging a copay for those who use certain health services such as ERs for silly things is a great plan. I am a great believer in EVERY ONE who is mentally capable putting something in the kitty for anything..there is no free lunch.

Well, it will be interesting to see how this plays out. I just hope it doesn't play out on the backs of those who are incapable of defending themselves, voting, working for enough money to take care of themselves, the most vulnerable amongst us...the developmentally delayed.

Posted by common sense, a resident of Midtown
on Jan 11, 2011 at 7:48 am

Brown doesn't go far enought - he doesn't address the bloated salaries in management, and the pensions. Here's an article

Web Link

Palo Alto needs to address the same issues

Posted by anonymous, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 11, 2011 at 9:34 am

It seems unlikely that meaningful, appropriate spending cuts or downsizing will occur in state government. There are plenty of opportunities for this to occur, and it should be a real percentage across the board, IMO.
This is a very expensive state to live in and do business in, and I believe more businesses will leave the state.
I lived itemporarily in Sacramento years ago. Two things were rotten even then. I met a secretary who laughed about how easy her state job was and how high her pay/benefits/vacation were.
I also had an occasion to go into one of the run of the mill large state offices in downtown Sacto and it took my breath away to see the bureaucracy -- miles of paper pushing employees. It almost reminded me of the movie BRAZIL - it didn't have an air of productivity in that building, but rather process, complication.

Posted by Mike, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 11, 2011 at 4:02 pm

I did not vote for Brown either, but had hopes he would do the 'right thing.'

This is partially it, but as addressed by others above, still lacks a lot of other cuts that seem obvious.

One troubling move Brown made was to immediately eliminate the Office of the Inspector General from his budget

Web Link

Posted by Paul, a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 11, 2011 at 4:47 pm

"many folks here can't stand the idea of a Republican doing something right"

Because they're not used to it. It was a long string of Repub Govs, terminating in the Terminator, that got us into this mess.

Posted by Larry Cohn, a resident of Midtown
on Jan 11, 2011 at 5:57 pm

I'm sorry to keep beating this drum, but if Governor Brown really wants to turn the state's fortunes around he needs to shut down the high-speed rail project lock, stock and barrel. The governor may like the concept of mass transit as a concept, but there are just too many things wrong with CA HSR as currently envisioned. Hopefully the project has lost a lot of impetus with Mr. Diridon out of the way.

Thank you for listening.

Posted by new in town, a resident of Midtown
on Jan 11, 2011 at 7:35 pm

Is there ever any mention of Prop 13? Especially on the commercial side of things where billions of tax cuts go to people who inherited commercial property.

Posted by daniel, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jan 12, 2011 at 7:36 am

Prop. 13 got us into this mess, on top of a secession of Republican governors. Unless its amended and reformed, nothing will get us out of it.

Posted by Anon, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 12, 2011 at 8:36 am

First, let's all agree to balance the budget.

Once we are agreed that we need to do that, we have to bicker, argue, and dicker over what the spending priorities are. We probably don't all agree. The price of owning and operating motor vehicles is at a very low level compared to historical prices, and is nowhere near covering the cost to state incurred by all those motor vehicles. I would like to raise motor vehicle and fuel taxes back to their historical levels and cut sales tax. Those of you who think your use of cars is a "right" and should be subsidized probably disagree. The point is -- the state budget needs to be balanced, taxes need to be set, and, politics is how we decide what to tax and what to spend.

Posted by go back to 2005 spending levels., a resident of Meadow Park
on Jan 12, 2011 at 9:59 am

Oh yes...of course, Prop 13 and the Repubs got us into this mess...

the usual brilliant analysis I have come to expect from certain ilks.

Ok, back to the topic at about simply going back to the spending levels, across the board, of ..say...5 years ago? We have fewer taxpayers now than 5 years ago, but more people....would still be hard to do, but just go back to whatever we were spending then in every department. I suspect it was smaller than this year's budget by a lot.

Once we adjust to that, say in a year, cut it to the year 2000 budget level.

Simplistic, I know, but it makes everything take a hit without "cherry picking".

Never will happen, I know..too many well paid special interests to protect, but hey, worth a shot.

Posted by Mike, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 12, 2011 at 11:09 am

Incredible that some people think we have a revenue problem, and that this budget crisis was caused by Republican governors.

The Democrats have been in charge here for a long time, and the spending shows it. If Republicans were to blame it would have to be because they vetoed lots of really great Democrat bills that trimmed spending and balanced the budget. This not only did not happen, but the opposite did. Arnold was repeatedly stopped in his tracks by the Democrat majority.

Don't forget Grey Davis helped put us on track for this spending disaster (after Jerry Brown enabled public employee unions) by taking a $500k donation from the prison guards union and in turn granting them millions in pension and wage benefits. We are a state run by and for the state employee unions.

Whatever case Dems make for more revenue is moot-they will spend all they can take in plus a lot more. Revenue will not ever be a permanent fix for California.

Posted by Paul, a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 12, 2011 at 11:56 am

"Arnold was repeatedly stopped in his tracks by the Democrat majority."

Arnold had a veto pen that could Terminate any bill he didn't like. The Democratic majority was not veto proof. So, where was Arnold's pen?

Posted by High-Time, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 12, 2011 at 12:54 pm

Brown has requested that 48,000 State employees turn in their cell phones--leaving another 48,000 taxpayer phones out there. There are about 350,000 State employees, which means that 1 out of every 3.5 of them had claimed that they had to be in "continuous" contact with their office. This is simply unbelievable! Even now, it's not clear that 48,000 State employees need to be in constant contact, or can't use their own cell phones to "check with the office".

Brown also is going after the pork-laden education sector. Good for him. There are almost 1M people employed in this sector, and it's high time to do some "house cleaning" and get read of the dead wood that has come to soak up our hard-earned tax dollars.

Arnold could have made the effort to make these same cuts .. and he didn't. Too bad. If Brown is able to get these cuts made, so much the better.

Posted by needmore, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jan 12, 2011 at 1:37 pm

The cell phone is a good sound bite but Brown isn't addressing the elephants in the room: pensions and unions' demands for benefits. Until they are trimmed back to be similar to what the taxpayers have, this budget crisis will not go away.

Posted by Paul, a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 12, 2011 at 3:06 pm

"Brown isn't addressing the elephants in the room: pensions and unions' demands for benefits"

Yawn. Another case of benefits/pension envy. Why don't you go get a decent job with benefits and a pension yourself instead of sour graping people that used some initiative?

"Brown also is going after the pork-laden education sector"

Yup. Don't need low-tuition colleges anymore. We got ours, so close 'em down.

Posted by High-Time, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 12, 2011 at 4:19 pm

> Don't need low-tuition colleges anymore.

The Community Colleges are not producing in proportion to their costs.
Yes .. it is time to shut them down, and to require that people pay a much higher percentage of the tuition than in the past.

Low cost education is one thing .. but what we have now in the Community Colleges is a massive waste of taxpayers' hard-earned money.

Posted by Paul, a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 12, 2011 at 5:06 pm

"what we have now in the Community Colleges is a massive waste of taxpayers' hard-earned money."

A common sentiment in these selfish times: tax money spent educating other people is a massive waste.

Posted by High-Time, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 12, 2011 at 6:35 pm

> tax money spent educating

The problem is that vast sums of tax dollars not truly "educating" .. these dollars are paying salaries to politically connected people, or to labor unions that have attached themselves to the education system.

These sentiments are not about "educating other people" .. but wasting dollars "not educating" them.

Posted by Carlito ways, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 12, 2011 at 10:46 pm

Is just laughable, Jerry doesn't think that the public employees pension is one of the biggest reasons why this budget is a mess and a handicap for the state, counties, cities, financial well being, I count on the Republicans to press the issue of public employees Pension Reform. Taxpayers have no business bailing out CALPERS because their investments didn't pan out the way they "planned " to. I am a Democrat, never liked Brown due to his lack of principles.

Posted by Tax debacle, a resident of Meadow Park
on Jan 12, 2011 at 11:21 pm

So long as $9 Billion is being poured into HSR I'll vote against any increases to taxes. He can take that $9. Billion and apply it to some of the cuts he proposes.

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