Details emerge over proposed budget cuts

One day after a tentative budget deal was reached, more details emerged late Wednesday on the $15.8 billion worth of spending cuts that will be used to help bring the state's spending into line with revenues through the spring of 2010.

Overall, according to Capitol sources, the plan includes about $15.8 billion in spending cuts, $14.3 billion in tax increases and about $10.9 billion in new borrowing. Details of the revenue package began to surface earlier this week, with increases expected in the state sales tax, gasoline tax and vehicle license fee.

More than half of the cuts are to K-12 schools and community colleges. The plan calls for about $8.4 billion in savings by reducing the constitutional guarantee to schools. Details of where the specific cuts would be made remained unclear, but Capitol sources indicated more than $5.6 billion would be cut in the current budget year.

About $3 billion in savings will be realized in the 2009-10 fiscal year.

The other major savings comes from reduced state employee salaries. The state is hoping to save about $1.4 billion in reduced worker salaries through the furlough program started by Gov. Schwarzenegger last week. That plan would stay on the books through June 2010, unless the Schwarzenegger administration and state employee unions can find other ways to save money. State workers will also lose two state holidays — Lincoln's Birthday and Columbus Day — under the proposal. 

The state also redirects money from a tobacco tax initiative, Proposition 10, through the 2013-14 fiscal year. That will allow the state to save more than $600 million in the upcoming fiscal year.

Public transit, the prison health care system and welfare recipients, along with the eldery, blind and disabled will also take a hit in the plan, expected to be voted on as early as Friday. More than $584 million in scheduled increases in SSI/SSP benefits would be suspended under the plan. Prison health care spending would be cut by more than $180 million. 

There is also a 3 percemt, or $181 million, reduction to regional centers, where many suffering from autism receive care. 

Cost of living increases for welfare recipients and those receiving SSI/SSP benefits will also be suspended if the plan adopted.

Another $1 billion in cuts have been proposed in Medi-Cal, welfare grants and cuts to in-home support services. But that money may be backfilled by the federal stimulus package currently being considered in Washington.

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