The real news in Gov. Jerry Brown's recent budget announcement was not $1 billion in mid-year cuts to higher education, school transportation and other programs.
It was Brown's declaration that billions more in cuts are coming next year -- whether voters approve tax increases or not.
"We will have a number of more cuts -- far more than $1 billion -- and they'll be to the same kind of state services," Brown told reporters.
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So what good are the $7 billion tax increases that Brown is seeking via ballot initiative next November?
The answer is: the tax increases will prevent next year's cuts from being worse.
Here's the math. The state's projected "shortfall" next year is expected to be more than $12 billion. So if voters approve the approximately $7 billion in tax increases, that money will take care of more of that shortfall -- but not all of it. More cuts will be necessary.
And if voters don't approve the taxes?
Billions more in cuts to make up for the unapproved tax increases.
There are only two options in California's broken budget system: