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The biggest new component of the Democratic budget is a $4 billion assumption of higher revenues in 2011-12, backed by $2.5 billion in "trigger" cuts in case some or none of that money materializes. The "trigger" legislation will be either Assembly Bill 121 or Senate Bill 96, depending upon which house votes first.

According to budget sources, the plan requires Gov. Jerry Brown's Department of Finance to certify on Dec. 15 whether the $4 billion projection is accurate. The department is required to choose between its own forecast and the Legislative Analyst's, whichever is higher.

The "trigger" cuts are essentially in three tiers, based on how much of the extra $4 billion comes in. (We have assigned numbers to the tiers to better explain the system.)

Tier 0: If the state gets $3 billion to $4 billion of the money, the state will not impose additional cuts and roll over any balance of the problem into the 2012-13 budget.

Tier 1: If the state gets $2 billion to $3 billion of the money, the state will impose about $600 million of cuts and roll over the remainder into the 2012-13 budget. The $600 million in cuts include:

-- $100 million cut to UC
-- $100 million cut to CSU
-- $100 million cut to In-Home Supportive Services hours
-- $100 million cut to Department of Developmental Services
-- $80 million cut to public safety programs
-- $30 million cut to community colleges triggering a $10/unit fee hike
-- $23 million across-the-board cut to childcare funding
-- $20 million cut to Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
-- $16 million cut to California State Library in library grants
-- $15 million cut related to Medi-Cal Managed Care
-- $15 million cut to California Emergency Management Agency
-- $10 million cut to Department of Social Services in anti-fraud grants

Tier 2: If the state gets $0 to $2 billion of the money, the state will also impose as much as $1.9 billion in additional cuts, proportionate to revenues:

-- $1.5 billion reduction to K-12 schools that allows districts to drop seven classroom days. That would lower the required total to 168 days, down from 180 days three years ago.
-- $248 million cut that eliminates school bus transportation
-- $72 million cut to community colleges

All cuts would take effect Jan. 1, 2012, except for the school year reduction, which districts could impose starting Feb. 1, 2012.


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