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Brown seeks to extend Calif. tax hikes

Associated Press / January 11, 2011

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SACRAMENTO — Governor Jerry Brown proposed a budget yesterday that would slash funding to most areas of state government and maintain a series of tax increases for five years to close California’s huge budget deficit.

The Democratic governor released his first budget proposal since winning election last fall. He called for $12.5 billion in spending cuts, including reductions in welfare, social services, health care for the poor, and a combined $1 billion cut to the University of California and California State University systems.

Brown also wants the Legislature to call a special election in June to give voters an opportunity to continue hikes in the income, sales, and vehicle taxes for five years. His proposal relies on new revenues of $12 billion.

The governor’s office says the only area of state spending he would protect is K-12 education.

Brown said his recommendations will close an 18-month budget gap estimated at $25.4 billion and require sacrifice from all Californians.

“For 10 years, we’ve had budget gimmicks and tricks that pushed us deep into debt. We must now return California to fiscal responsibility and get our state on the road to economic recovery and job growth,’’ he said in a statement.

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