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GOP assemblyman compares Jerry Brown budget to a mullet haircut

SACRAMENTO -- Democrats in Sacramento are celebrating their new budget accord as a fiscally austere plan for a state in the midst of a gradual economic recovery.

Although the deal between Gov. Jerry Brown and Democratic leaders in the Legislature includes plans to spend billions in state money on increased welfare benefits, restoring dental coverage to the poor, giving pay hikes to state workers and lowering college tuition for thousands of middle-class students, most of that spending does not begin until May 2014, the very end of the next fiscal year, or even later.

But Assemblyman Jeff Gorell (R-Camarillo) says he is concerned that the Democratic budget, which is expected to be voted on in the Legislature on Friday, sets California on a course for new spending that will be unsustainable.

“It’s the mullet budget,” he said, comparing it to a hairstyle that is cropped close in the front but runs long down the back of the neck. “It’s conservative up front, but it’s liberal in the back.”

Gorell, who confessed he once wore his hair in a mullet, drew comparisons to this plan and some of the budgets of the boom years of the late 1990s, which extended benefits and perks for ongoing programs that led to a decade of multi-billion-dollar deficits when the economic boom ended.

Gorell noted that state revenue is scheduled to decrease by more than $6 billion toward the end of the decade when Proposition 30 tax increases passed by voters expire. “Clearly, there are people in the Capitol who don’t believe Prop. 30 was a temporary tax,” he said. “If that’s the case, we ought to have that honest discussion.”

Brown and Democratic leaders will discuss the plan at a Capitol press conference Tuesday afternoon.

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anthony.york@latimes.com @anthonyyorklat

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