Jerry Brown budget: 'It affects my mortgage payment,' worker says
Southern California voters weighed in after Gov. Jerry Brown today released a $91-billion budget proposal that includes cutting health and welfare spending and reducing state payrolls by 5% to address the state’s deficit, which has grown to $16 billion.
"For at least three years now, we've had furloughs, pay cuts," said Arturo Camarillo, 49, a deputy labor commissioner in downtown Los Angeles.
"And it was getting better. Last month, I think, was the first month we got back our furlough; we got 100% of our monthly income paid to us. But now we hear this news, it affects me, it affects my mortgage payment again .... It certainly makes us feel sad."
Brown's revised budget reflects a steadily worsening fiscal picture for California. Service reductions are expected to be harsher if voters in November reject Brown's proposed combination of a sales-tax hike and increased levies on high earners. The governor presumes that $8.5 billion of the state's $16-billion deficit will be filled by his tax measure.
"There’s a dilemma right there," said Camarillo, "if he’s cutting our salaries and furlough, those taxes would help us."
Ying Wei, 51, an examiner for the state’s Department of Corporations, supports a tax increase but said she didn’t think salary cuts in previous years "saved that much money."
"I don’t mind paying a little more tax if it goes a long way," she said. “But the problems go back many, many years. We need to find better ways to save money, I don’t think cutting here and there will solve the problems.”
Jesse Cruz, 46, a finance consultant, said he was shocked when he heard the actual state deficit amount.
"It ties into a lot of the well-intentioned state programs that are not run efficiently," he said. "Medi-Cal, for example. If the governor’s trying to cut fat from the upper echelons of the bureaucracy, I would support that move. But if the cuts are at the sacrifice of seniors and lower-income people who need this aid, then this doesn’t make sense."
Others are waiting to see how the proposals play out.
"I’m comfortable with Brown saying there has to be some cuts in state benefits and a tax increase," said Navjot Singh, 31, a software engineer. "He’s been saying both things for a while. I just hope he can follow through with the cuts while also increasing our taxes."
-- Rosanna Xia