Gov. Jerry Brown says California is not a "tired" European country


(CBS News) California is in the process of making some very difficult choices in order to get its fiscal house in order, Gov. Jerry Brown said Friday, but the nation's most populous state is not like Europe and it will emerge from these budget cuts stronger.

"We're not some tired country of Europe. We're a buoyant, dynamic society that will both discipline itself on a daily basis but it will on the long-term plant the seeds of future growth, Brown said in an interview with "CBS This Morning."

California, often called the the world's 9th largest economy, is facing a budget deficit of about $16 billion. That's much more than the $9 billion Brown predicted in January and stems from weaker-than-expected economic growth.

Brown has collected more than 1.5 million signatures for a ballot initiative that would allow voters to decide directly whether to adopt his plan to raise the income tax rate on the wealthy and hike the sales tax rate on everyone.

The budget plan would increase the sales tax to 7.5 percent from 7.25 percent and raise income taxes on those making more than $250,000.

"Combined with that, we're making some very drastic cuts in almost every area of state government. So we are going to start living within our means -- something that hasn't truly happened for the better part of 30 years," Brown said.

If the measure is not approved by voters, Brown has proposed even steeper automatic "trigger" cuts to almost every sector of the government, including education. Brown hopes to avoid those cuts by convincing voters to back the tax hikes.

Brown defended his decision to cut the government spending as absolutely necessary.

"There's a day of reckoning, and government does a lot of good things. When it does more good things than it has money to pay for them, it becomes a bad. So we're gonna have to cut some good in order to avoid some bad, Brown said.

"It's not easy, the last several governors have faced difficulty in actually achieving that, but I feel that at this stage in my life, this is what I have been called upon to do, and God willing, I'm going to do it," he added.