Gov. Jerry Brown said in a video release today that California's budget deficit has mushroomed to $16 billion, nearly twice as high as the $9.2 billion he estimated in January.
Brown blamed a slow recovery from the recession and the federal government's blockage of state spending cuts for the widening gap.
"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 2 minute, 41-second 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 Democratic governor then went on to ask voters to approve his November ballot initiative to raise taxes on sales and wealthy earners. The proposal would raise the sales tax by a quarter-cent and hike taxes on income above $250,000 for single filers and $500,000 for joint filers.
Brown is scheduled to release his revised May budget on Monday morning at 10 a.m., an event that will set in motion serious budget discussions as lawmakers attempt to approve a spending plan before the June 15 deadline.
After tax returns were disappointing in April, the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office estimated that the state is now about $3 billion behind for the year in revenues and would be a "few billion" behind through June 2013.