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California Faces A Most Massive Budget Shortfall

JOHN MYERS: Jerry Brown is a governor whose personal frugality is the stuff of legend. These days, he's preaching that same message to the public - a necessity, he says, in the face of a $25 billion budget shortfall.

JERRY BROWN: Each group in California that benefits from state money will come to Sacramento and will complain. The hallways are going to be crowded in the coming months of people who say: Please keep the money coming. And my message is: the money is not there.

MYERS: When Governor Brown's budget wasn't being hit as heartless, it was being called a drag on the economy. The biggest fight so far: his plan to eliminate local redevelopment agencies and divert the tax dollars to other government services. Those tax dollars provide an economic boost, says Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

MAYOR ANTONIO VILLARAIGOSA: This is the wrong time to disincentivize, frankly, companies from coming to distressed areas of our city.

MYERS: To which Governor Jerry Brown, himself the former mayor of Oakland, says the question for local officials is this:

BROWN: If not you, who? Where do we get the money to replace that money?

MYERS: For NPR News, I'm John Myers in Sacramento. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

John Myers
Since 2017, John Myers has been the producer of NPR's World Cafe, which is produced by WXPN at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Previously he spent about eight years working on the other side of Philly at WHYY as a producer on the staff of Fresh Air with Terry Gross. John was also a member of the team of public radio veterans recruited to develop original programming for Audible and has worked extensively as a freelance producer. His portfolio includes work for the Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site, The Association for Public Art and the radio documentary, Going Black: The Legacy of Philly Soul Radio. He's taught radio production to preschoolers and college students and, in the late 90's, spent a couple of years traveling around the country as a roadie for the rock band Huffamoose.