By David Siders
Published: Saturday, Apr. 14, 2012 – 12:00 am | Page 3A
Last Modified: Saturday, Apr. 14, 2012 – 12:10 am

Gov. Jerry Brown urged the Legislature on Friday to “man up” and make spending cuts, acknowledging the state budget deficit is likely larger than he previously thought.

The Democratic governor, in an interview on Bay Area talk radio station KGO (810 AM), said the deficit is “probably bigger now” than the $9.2 billion he estimated earlier this year.

“We’re trying to be as prudent as we can,” Brown said. “That’s why the Legislature has to man up, make the cuts and get some taxes and we’ll make it.”

Democrats this year have resisted Brown’s proposed cuts to social services and higher education, and his demand that spending reductions be enacted by March fell flat.

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, has said it is too early in the budget calendar to make potentially unnecessary cuts. His spokeswoman, Alicia Trost, said Friday that “it’s best to wait and get a clear picture” of the budget when Brown revises his budget proposal in May. Trost said Democrats have enacted spending reductions in previous years and “this year will be no different.”

Brown’s “man up” remark was reminiscent of when Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger called legislative Democrats “girlie men” in 2004, also in a budget dispute.

“Uh-oh … ,” Aaron McLear, Schwarzenegger’s former press secretary, said on Twitter, “sounds a lot like ‘Girly Men.’ ”

In the radio interview, Brown promoted his November ballot initiative to raise the state sales tax and income taxes on California’s highest earners, but he stepped back from his previous characterization of the initiative as a “millionaires’ tax.”

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