Governor Brown's budget assumes the voters will approve a tax increase that could be as high as $9 billion. His budget proposes trigger cuts which would take effect, according to his proposal, if the voters reject higher taxes.
Consider that 97% of the trigger cuts are targeting education, 90% of which impact the Proposition 98 minimum guarantee to education,[i] even though education expenditures only account for about 50% of General Fund costs. Members from both sides of the aisle have asked the question, "Can trigger cuts be avoided?"
Legislative Republicans have put forward a "Budget Roadmap to Protect Classrooms and Taxpayers" which suggests that unpopular trigger cuts are avoidable if there is the political will to put education first.
Summary of Findings:
- Whether or not the Governor's tax increases are rejected by the voters, public schools, colleges and universities will have to budget as if the trigger will be pulled.
- The non-partisan Legislative Analyst's Office says that the Legislature would need $3 billion in alternatives to keep K-14 funding at the same programmatic level as the current fiscal year. The Legislature would need to find an additional $400 million in alternatives to avoid the Governor's proposed trigger cut on the higher education system for a total of $3.4 billion in alternative savings.
- The Republican "Budget Roadmap to Protect Classrooms and Taxpayers" proposal identified $4.4 billion in alternative solutions that, if adopted, would eliminate the need for devastating education trigger cuts. The list includes proposals from the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's office, viable solutions that have been used in past budgets or reforms to make government more efficient.
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