Politics & Government

Jerry Brown proposes 'zero-based budgeting' plan for California

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown has released a budget plan that would start next year's spending plan from scratch.

The eight-page plan also touches on cutting prison spending and starting budget negotiations this November. The former governor has also said he won't raise taxes unless voters approve them.

Released late Tuesday, the plan came 76 days after the state's legally mandated budget deadline passed without Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and legislators implementing a budget.

The "zero-based budgeting" proposed by Brown would drastically alter the way budgets are built at the Capitol — at least for one year. The approach essentially would require each department to justify all spending from zero, rather than build on the previous year's plan.

"We need to start from scratch and conduct an in-depth review of all budget components to identify spending that can be eliminated or reduced," Brown's plan says. "Although this kind of radical scrutiny is not feasible as an annual process, it is necessary now given the magnitude of the budget shortfall."

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