California public schools were faced with a massive cut in Governor Jerry Brown’s January budget, which called for $4.8 billion be slashed from state schools unless voters agree to tax hikes.
"We’re in a box in the state of California, we have more needs, desires and demands than the money available," Brown said in a press conference.
Much of the state’s money is in education, so when dwindling revenue requires spending cuts, schools are the first target, Brown said.
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"The economy and the tax statues of California only make so much money available," he said.
A battle is brewing in the legislature over how to handle the state’s lackluster revenue. Democrats think the cuts are too painful, but Republicans oppose raising taxes to make up the difference.
"Last year we were willing to talk about letting the voter decide on that, but we wanted to see the reforms and I think our focus has stayed the same," State Senator Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar) told NBC 4. "Taxes should be the absolute last thing that should be considered, we don’t think they’re necessary this year. … Reform is clearly the end game here."
Brown’s proposed tax hikes would be temporary and focus on wealthier Californians, but Republicans in the legislature said the state’s economy is growing and will suffer if taxes are raised.
Huff said he and his caucus will actively campaign against tax hikes should they make it onto the November ballot.