Sen. Mark Leno, San Rafael's representative in the state Senate, said unavoidable budget cuts — prompted by the Schwarzenegger administration's leftover deficit — will have to be handled with sensitivity to prevent further harm to the economy and local budgets.
Leno, D-San Francisco and chair of the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee, released his remarks Monday after hearing of Gov. Jerry Brown's revised budget proposal – one that estimated the state's structural deficit at $16 billion rather than the $9 billion mentioned a few months earlier.
On Monday, Brown proposed more than $8 billion in cuts on a wide array of state services plus a 5 percent pay cut for state workers, which would save $402 million in the coming fiscal year, according to the Associated Press. Brown also made another pitch for his tax-hike initiative that he said would send more money to public schools if voters approve it in November.
Leno said progress through austerity measures has been significant but hampered by an inherited fiscal mess.
“Unfortunately, our fiscal crisis in California is far from over, largely due to the $20 billion structural deficit left by the Schwarzenegger Administration, and we continue to face a significant budget gap,” he said in a release. "... We cannot continue to expect our state to thrive while we simultaneously give away tax breaks to large corporations and scale back funding for our schools, universities, social programs and health care services that are important to children, lower and middle class families and elderly and disabled Californians. We will not have the resources we need to put California back on its feet without the revenues that the Governor is proposing in his November ballot initiative.”