SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Gov. Jerry Brown's revised state budget proposal released Monday increases the stakes of a public vote in November to raise taxes, a San Diego Unified School District official said.
Local school officials have been waiting for the "May revise" to judge the impact of lower-than-expected state revenues on funding for education.
"Nothing has improved for K-12 education in the May revise, which is what we expected," said Bernie Rhinerson, the SDUSD chief of staff.
Based on the governor's original budget proposal in January, the state's second-largest school district expected to lose around $40 million if the tax increases fail at the ballot box, Rhinerson said. He said the new numbers still need to be crunched, but the revision could raise the potential setback to $42 million.
"It makes the (tax) initiative more important," Rhinerson said.
Brown said the state's budget deficit has ballooned to about $16 billion since January, when it was estimated at about $9 billion.
"We're going to have to cut deeper," the Democratic governor said in Sacramento.
"But cutting alone really doesn't do it," Brown said. "That's why I'm linking these serious budget reductions -- real increased austerity -- with a plea to the voters: Please increase taxes temporarily on the most affluent and everyone else with a quarter of a cent sales tax."
Funding for the state's two major university systems will remain a question, however, until the November election, when Brown asks voters to approve a bump in the state's 7.25 percent sales tax rate to 7.5 percent, and to increase the income tax rate on people earning more than $250,000 a year.
If the proposals fail, another $6 billion in cuts will take effect Jan. 1, including a $250 million cut to both the California State University and University of California systems -- likely meaning more cuts and tuition hikes.
"We very much appreciate the governor's hard work to avoid further direct cuts to higher education despite the steep growth in the size of the state deficit," CSU Chancellor Charles Reed said. "Nevertheless, all Californians should be concerned about the serious long-term damage to student access to the California State University that is posed by the $250 million trigger cut.
"Combined with last year's $750 million cut, no easy options remain," he said. "It will be extremely difficult to avoid impacts to program quality at our 23 campuses or impacts to access for students and the ability to serve them, with long-term consequences for workforce development and job growth in the state."
Steve Montiel, spokesman for the UC president's office, also said officials there appreciate Brown's effort to maintain funding for the system, but the financial picture for the universities will remain in doubt until November.
"We will continue to seek a long-term funding agreement with the state that will provide the stable fiscal footing needed to preserve the university's quality, access and affordability," he said.
Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher said the governor's revised spending plan fully funds implementation of Chelsea's Law, which tightens scrutiny of sexually violent offenders. The original budget proposal did not include full funding, according to the assemblyman, who recently left the Republican Party to become an independent.
"There is little good news in the budget today, but the public can take comfort knowing the commitment to protecting our children is strong," said Fletcher, who is running for mayor of San Diego.
The law is named after Poway High School senior Chelsea King, who was murdered by a convicted a sex offender two years ago.
Assemblyman Marty Block, D-Bonita, said there was no way to sugarcoat the task before the Legislature.
"There are only tough choices," Block said. "We must be guided by the most important priorities that reflect our core values -- protecting public education and the most vulnerable while ensuring the continuation of essential services such as public safety."
Law enforcement agencies across San Diego County are planning to crack down on drunken driving over the three-day Memorial Day weekend.
A two vehicle crash left one person critically injured Friday in Emerald Hills, according to authorities.
Some of the smartest high school students in San Diego County will be in Atlanta this weekend competing in the National Quiz Bowl Championship.
Californians Aware, a statewide group that advocates for government transparency, Friday expressed concern over a soon-to-take- effect San Diego Unified School District policy to delete most emails after one year.
Millions of Southern Californians will be taking to the roads and airways Friday as the Memorial Day travel crunch goes into high gear, and the large crowds will likely test the patience of motorists and airline passengers.
Several good Samaritans, including a grandmother, disregarded their own safety today when they helped subdue and disarm a knife- waving man who attacked the driver of a bus full of schoolchildren in a rural neighborhood in southeastern San Diego County.
An animal known as the San Quintin Kangaroo rat and native to Baja California is back from the brink of extinction.
As Memorial Day weekend approaches, San Diego Blood Bank CEO David Wellis today encouraged those who haven't recently donated blood to consider scheduling an appointment.
The San Diego Zoo Safari Park is famous for its expansive habitats featuring African and Asian species. The all-new Walkabout Australia gives park guests a view into a new region of the world with interesting and unique species.