Southern California — this just in
May 13, 2012 | 2:01 pm

Gov. Jerry Brown’s announcement that the state’s deficit has swelled to $16 billion (from a $9.2-billion estimate in January) means that a new array of budget cuts are likely.

But where to cut?

Talk back LAAs The Times’ Anthony York and Christopher Megerian reported Sunday, Brown’s announcement doubled as a sales pitch for tax hikes that he hopes voters approve at the ballot box in November. He said budget cuts, primarily to public education, would be even worse without increasing the sales tax a quarter-cent for four years and raising levies on incomes of $250,000 or more by 1 to 3 percentage points for seven years.

“We can’t fill a hole of this magnitude with cuts alone without doing severe damage to our schools,” Brown says. “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.”

Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) said severe spending reductions in previous years have left few places for lawmakers to make more cuts, meaning higher taxes are needed to close the larger-than-expected deficit.

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