California Deficit Increases to $16 Billion

May 18, 2012 Updated: May 25, 2012

The budget deficit in California has swelled to $16 billion, far greater than previously expected, Gov. Jerry Brown said on Saturday.

In a video on YouTube, Brown made the announcement and said more budget cuts would be instated. He said the state budget shortfall grew from $9.2 billion in January.

“We can’t fill this hole with cuts alone without doing severe damage to our schools. That’s why I’m bypassing the gridlock and asking you, the people of California, to approve a plan that avoids cuts to schools and public safety,” Brown said.

California lawmakers believed the economy would pick up since January, but the revenue fell.

“We are still recovering from the worst recession since the 1930s,” Brown said. “Tax receipts are coming lower than expected and the federal government and the courts have blocked us from making billions of necessary budget reductions.

Brown, a Democrat, is asking voters to approve a ballot initiative in November to raise the state’s sales tax. He is also asking voters to implement a 3 percent surtax on wealthy Californians earning incomes of $1 million or more.