California’s $9 Billion Projected Budget Shortfall Not Even Close

Officials in the countries most populous state are being forced to introduce a series of new cuts that are likely to mean more reductions in spending for schools, health care and other social programs, state officials announced on Saturday.

Gov. Jerry Brown, of California, posted a video on YouTube, revealing that the state’s budget shortfall was now projected to be $16 billion, up from $9.2 billion in January.

“We are now facing a $16 billion hole, not the $9 billion we thought in January,” Mr. Brown said. “This means we will have to go much further and make cuts far greater than I asked for at the beginning of the year.”

In the video, Brown lists the steps he has taken to try to scale back a $26 billion deficit he found upon taking office. He also urged viewers to back an initiative he is putting on the November ballot that would increase sales taxes by 0.25 percent and raise income taxes on wealthy Californians to try to stave off more cuts.

State officials said Mr. Brown’s proposal would include a package of immediate cuts, as well as others that would be triggered only if voters failed to approve his tax plan. The sales tax increase would expire after four years, while the income tax surcharge would last for seven years.

State officials blame disappointing revenue collections in April for the shortfall.

“We are still recovering from the worst recession since the 1930s,” Mr. Brown said.

The state controller reported that the state had exceeded spending by $2.1 billion, though Mr. Brown said court rulings and other actions that restricted California from making the cuts are also to blame.

Deficit projections have been increasing since Mr. Brown and the Democratic-controlled Legislature approved a budget last summer.

Governor Brown pledged, when he took office, to end what he said were the tricks lawmakers regularly used to paper over budget shortfalls.


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