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Mansoor criticizes Brown's plan

Assemblyman says the governor's proposed budget should target public employee pensions.

January 11, 2011|By Mona Shadia, mona.shadia@latimes.com

COSTA MESA — Assemblyman Allan Mansoor (R-Costa Mesa) on Tuesday expressed dismay with the lack of pension reform in Gov. Jerry Brown's proposed budget cutbacks.

This week, Brown unveiled a plan to cut $12.5 billion in spending and get closer to balancing the state's ailing budget.

Mansoor, however, said that while the governor's proposal makes "difficult and necessary cuts," it avoids the big elephant in the room: public employee pensions, which continue to be among the biggest costs for the state.

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"I'm surprised," said Mansoor, who represents the 68th Assembly District. "I thought like any meaningful budget and budget discussion, it needs to include long-term pension reform."

Brown's proposal cuts 8% to 12% of public employee compensation, Medi-Cal, Welfare, funds from both the University of California and the California State University systems, and $400 million from community colleges, among others, according to an online transcript of his news conference Monday. Public safety and K-12 education would not be reduced.

Mansoor said he recognizes the need to make cuts, and that Brown doesn't address pension reform head on.

Mansoor also said Brown's proposal to extend the current taxes for the next five years and cut Enterprise Zones, an incentive provided to allow distressed areas to recover, takes away jobs from the private sector.

"The taxes are set to expire, and this will raise taxes," he said. "I don't think voters are in the mood to raise taxes."

But Brown explained during the conference that extending the taxes will give him room to implement the cuts while restructuring state government.

"For years, different activities are shifted and shuttled back and forth between state and local government," Brown said, according to his transcripts. "What I propose will be painful — it's going to take sacrifice from every sector of California — but for 10 years, this state has put together its budget with gimmicks and tricks and unrealistic expectations that have pushed this state deeper and deeper into debt. It's time now to restore California to fiscal solvency and put us on the road to economic recovery and jobs."

Any cuts would require legislative approval.

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