Nov. 16, 2011 | On the heels of announcements last week of worsening receipts by the state's controller, the state's legislative analyst today said the prospects of triggering $2 billion in pre-approved budget cuts at the beginning of the year is likely.
The budget approved last summer projected $4 billion in increased revenues. Instead, it appears the state will be in the hole for nearly the same amount. According to the analyst, the state's budget situation will worsen in the years to come.
"Unfortunately, there are few easy options left for balancing California's budget," said the report. "Difficult program reductions already have been passed, and significant one-time budget actions may be more elusive than in prior years."
The cuts will likely be centered on education and social services--two areas of the budget already heavily gutted by years of budget uncertainty. East Bay lawmaker and Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett is likely to take some heat for additional cuts to services. She laments the looming cuts, but offered no concrete solutions.
“I am deeply troubled by this forecast and the prospect of making another round of deep cuts to public schools and higher education,” said Corbett. “The Legislature and governor should explore all of our available options, and do everything we can, to prevent mid-year cuts.”
The bottom line is our public schools and institutions of higher education are woefully underfunded, and we must find a way to reverse this trend of cutting their support if we are serious about providing Californians and their children with a bright future.”
News of the triggered budget cuts comes at a particularly vexing time for lawmakers in Sacramento. Another $2 billion could be lost if the state loses a legal battle in the state Supreme Court. Numerous Californai cities question the constitutionality of the state's budget plan to shutter local redevelopment agencies as a mechanism to balance its budget.
To make matters worse, California State University regents also approved today a nine percent increase in tuition that will likely rankle students who are already in a frenzy over exorbitant fee increases over the past five years. Their anger also appears to be melding with the growing occupy movement sweeping cities and universities across the country.