California’s Brown proposes “painful” budget cuts

January 11, 2011

By Jim Christie, Reuters

California Governor Jerry Brown unveiled a budget on Monday that included “painful” cuts to state worker pay and social services and a plan to extend tax increases as the most populous U.S. state struggles to close a $25.4 billion deficit.

Brown, a 72-year-old Democrat who last week began his third term as governor 28 years after wrapping up his second term, faces a tough campaign to win approval of his budget plan from the Golden State’s fractious legislature.

Brown’s proposed cuts, like those of his predecessor, Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, come in response to a steep drop in the state’s coffers in the wake of a crippling housing market crash and recession that roiled financial markets and sent unemployment into the double digits.

“It’s going to be difficult,” said Ken Naehu, managing director at Bel Air Investment Advisors. “But he’s been there before so he knows what to expect, and he’s got a fighting chance to be successful.”

Brown said he would ask lawmakers to support a ballot measure to extend temporary tax increases that expire this year. He plans to campaign vigorously for the measure and is hopeful voters will endorse it in light of even deeper spending cuts if they reject it.

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