"I'm going to try to get the budget agreements done within about 60 days. I don't think we have a lot of time to waste," he said.
Brown made the remark during a budget forum in Los Angeles, but he demurred when asked by reporters whether his proposal would contain only spending cuts or would include new taxes.
"We'll present a budget on Jan. 10. It will be a very tough budget, but it will be transparent," he said. "We'll lay it out as best I can. We've been living in fantasy land. It is much worse than I thought. I'm shocked."
He sounds realistic; I hope that lasts. I'm sorry for being cynical, but I've been burned plenty of times on this.
He continued, regarding education:
"This is really a huge challenge, unprecedented in my lifetime," Brown told hundreds of educators, union representatives and parents who had gathered at UCLA. "I can't promise you there won't be more cuts, because there will be."
As much as I don't want a pay cut or furlough days or larger classes--or any of the other things that happen when education funding gets cut, even though the further away from the classroom you go, the less the cuts are--I can't see how to balance California's budget while leaving half the state's budget off (education) off the table.
Count on the education lobby, though, to disagree. Fortunately, there was a realistic response to their crap:
Educators responded by calling for an end to cuts, asking for greater discretion at the local level as to how dwindling dollars are spent, urging the state to seek more federal funding and requesting legislation that would allow them to increase local property taxes with 55% of the vote rather than the current requirement of two-thirds.
"We can't take any more cuts. You really need to look elsewhere," said Bernie Rhinerson, the chief district relations officer at the San Diego Unified School District. "We are at the cliff."
State Treasurer Bill Lockyer grew visibly frustrated by some of the comments about increasing funding of programs, such as online education.
"Anyone who thinks we get by that without everyone getting hit probably should live in Mendocino County," he said, referring to the region known for marijuana growing. "There are going to be cuts."
But wait, there's more:
"So far, I've heard good ideas about how to spend more money. Great. It ain't there. It's time to make cuts, I believe deep cuts," Lockyer said. "I'd do the 25% across the board and just say those who wanted less government, you're going to get your wish. In other communities that are willing to put something on the ballot to make up that difference, they're going to have a higher service level."
Educators appeared shaken by Lockyer's remarks.
"There is no more meat on this bone to carve, the only thing left is amputation," said David Sanchez, president of the California Teachers' Assn. "If we do what Mr. Grinch wants us to do, the possibility of shutting down schools is a reality. Is that really what we want to do?"
Lockyer later clarified that he had not been making a policy recommendation, but rather analyzing what would happen unless voters sanction increased spending.
I won't vote for a cent of increased taxes until there are genuine budget cuts. There are entire departments of our state government that could be shut down or consolidated with others--let's start there before we try to get more money from me to waste elsewhere.
I wish Brown well. I hope he lives up to his own rhetoric. The EIA says the following, though, pointing out the sheer idiocy/hypocrisy/partisan nature of the CTA:
Remember those halcyon days of yesteryear – by which I mean October 2010 – when the California Teachers Association was spending $3.6 million to help elect Jerry Brown as governor of the state? The union said things about him like:
“Whitman’s plan calls for cutting the state budget by $15 billion, which could equate to another $7 billion in cuts to already beleaguered schools. Brown has made a commitment to protect schools.”
$15 billion! Shocking! Thanks heavens we elected Brown!
At least until this morning’s newspapers hit the stands.
San Francisco Chronicle – “Jerry Brown warns educators to brace for more cuts”
Some think this is a ploy – describing cuts so drastic that the public will beg for a tax increase (on others, of course) in order to avoid them. Maybe. But I think CTA is going to learn that Jerry Brown is not Gray.