California Gov. Jerry Brown unveiled a painful slate of budget cuts yesterday, including shifting all state employees to a four-day, 38-hour workweek, in an effort to reduce the state's yawning $15.7 billion budget gap. The plan also includes cuts to courts, health services, and welfare in what Brown terms a stab at "real, increased austerity." The plan also assumes the public will in November pass a new tax initiative designed to raise $6 billion, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
If voters balk at the initiative—which would increase the sales tax and boost taxes on the highest earners—"trigger cuts" will kick in and automatically trim billions from education spending. And even if the spending cuts and tax hikes go through, California will still be stuck with a $7.7 billion deficit in two years. "It's taken a long time, more than a decade, to get into this mess," Brown said. "We're not going to get out of it in a year, or even two years. But we're getting there."