California Gov. Jerry Brown broke the bad news yesterday by YouTube: His state is facing a $16 billion deficit, not the $9.2 billion shortfall he had projected in January, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Brown blamed the budget gap on lower-than-expected tax receipts and the loss of spending cuts, which were blocked by court order and federal officials to protect the needy. Now, Brown says, the public had better support his ballot measure in November to boost taxes and raise $9 billion.
A balanced budget is required by June 15, but the state Senate's Republican leader predicts that "another phony budget" will be passed by a simple majority of Democrats. Advocates for those who use health and human services, however, are predicting harsh cuts when Brown reveals his proposed budget tomorrow: "The cuts are expected to be big, bad and brutal for California families," says one. A state senator calls the new deficit "as bad as our worst fears have been. The options get fewer and fewer." (Read more Jerry Brown stories.)