Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Dodging One Bullet In A Hail Of Machine Gun Fire

Many of California's teachers cheered last summer when the state budget required school districts to maintain the same staffing as they had last year, even if budgets were cut. "At least we won't lose any jobs", was the prevailing thought. And since California was projecting wine and ambrosia in its budget, it was thought that there would be no reason to have midyear cuts.

Sober minds knew better.

We've been waiting for the "trigger", the amount of budget shortfall that could trigger midyear budget cuts, and it's been reached:
The Democratic governor said Tuesday he expects California to fall $2.2 billion shy of its optimistic summer revenue forecast for the current fiscal year, triggering the $980 million in cuts.

Because of how Brown and lawmakers drafted the June budget, K-12 school districts could have lost as much as $1.5 billion in general-purpose funding – the equivalent of seven instructional days.

But Brown's latest revenue snapshot was robust enough that schools will instead face a smaller $79.6 million reduction in general funding and a $248 million elimination of bus transportation money. That should avert massive reductions in the school calendar or other drastic measures for most districts...

Still, districts remain nervous because Brown threatened Tuesday to impose deeper cuts next fall if voters reject his $7 billion plan to raise sales taxes, as well as income taxes on the wealthy.

Brown said he will propose "far more than a billion" in new cuts when he releases his budget in January. It is unclear how large his fiscal office believes the deficit will be, but the Legislative Analyst's Office pegged the figure last month at $12.8 billion.

"Schools may have dodged a bullet in December," said education lobbyist Kevin Gordon. "But they may find that in the budget come January, their share of a $13 billion hole will add to the uncertainty they've lived with the last couple of years."
The governor wants to increase taxes. The one or two fiscal conservatives left in California aren't impressed:
Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, whom the governor has blamed for dousing the last Capitol tax negotiation, said Brown's tax plan would drive business out of state.

Wait, that can't be true!

This, ladies and gentlemen, is the Golden State.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

California, once an industrial powerhouse, now an industrial-grade poorhouse.

Jason Dixon
Professor - Manufacturing Technology
Bakersfield College