In a gloomy preview of his May budget release, Gov. Jerry Brown said Saturday that California's deficit has mushroomed to $16 billion, nearly $7 billion higher than he last estimated.
The Democratic governor blamed a slow economic recovery, as well as federal judges and administrators who blocked cuts to health care for the poor. Brown had previously pegged the deficit at $9.2 billion.
"This means that we will have to go much further, and make cuts far greater, than I asked for at the beginning of the year," Brown said in a video released on YouTube. "But we can't fill a hole of this magnitude with cuts alone without doing severe damage to our schools."
The governor then made a campaign pitch, asking voters to approve his November ballot initiative to raise taxes on sales and wealthy earners.
Fiscal experts for months warned that Brown had been too optimistic in his January plan, particularly in his assumption that capital gains from California's wealthiest residents would propel the state's funding higher.
The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office warned in February that Brown had overstated tax growth, a concern borne out when California ended last month $3 billion in the red for the fiscal year.
The governor is slated to release his revised budget Monday, and no sector that relies on state funding is likely to escape deeper cuts. Brown has already told state worker unions to expect at least a 5 percent compensation reduction. Read more at The Sacramento Bee.com