LAO Recommends Tax Hike

Anthony Pignataro:

There’s no legislative session right now, but the Capitol halls are buzzing with a single word: BUDGET. This year’s was 100 days late and almost instantly $6 billion in the red. Governor-elect Jerry Brown has been holding sober forums across the state, talking about the pain and sacrifice that’s needed to get our state’s fiscal house in some kind of order.

Joining the doom and gloom campaign is the non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s Office, which today released a report titled “Overview of the Governor’s December 2010 Special Session Proposals.” The title may be sleep-inducing, referencing still-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s now pretty much defunct call for a special session to tackle the ongoing budget crisis, but the report itself is surprisingly riveting.

Let’s start with the section on the need for painful budget cuts:

“The size of the budget problem to be addressed in the next six months is so large that lawmakers need to consider significant expenditure reductions in every major area of state expenditures — including the areas addressed in the Governor’s special session proposals, as well as areas not addressed in his package, such as appropriations for the universities and courts… In some cases, the state will need to consider even greater expenditure reductions than we have recommended previously in some programs.”

Oh, and we’re going to need higher taxes as well:

“In addition, the Legislature will need to consider temporary or permanent revenue increases to close the massive General Fund budget gap.”

No matter how you slice it, 2011 is going to a be tough year.

DEC. 15, 2010

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