Friday, May 11, 2012

California's "Education Budget"

Yesterday after our staff meeting our union rep gave us an update on the state of district finances and contract negotiations.  We got the best case financial scenario (the district has a little extra money if Governor Brown's tax hikes get approved in next November's election) as well as the worst case (the district has to cut even more if the tax hikes aren't approved).  One teacher stormed by me in frustration, saying to no one in particular, "More cuts?  When will this end?"

Well, Teacher X, it will end when you quit voting for the Democrats who keep running this state down the economic drain.  It will end when you stop supporting a political party that chases businesses and jobs out of the state.  It will end when you stop killing the goose that lays the golden eggs.  It will end when you quit voting to take from the productive and give to the unproductive out of some misplaced and misguided sense of "fairness".

Here's how bad it is:
Gov. Jerry Brown warned Californians on Thursday to brace for another round of difficult budget cuts as he hand-delivered boxes of petitions to election officials requesting that his proposed tax hike be placed on the November ballot.

Brown, who is expected to unveil his revised budget proposal Monday, said he needed far more than the $4.2 billion in spending reductions he asked for in January. And he continued to raise the specter of even deeper wounds to public schools, colleges and other state services if his bid for tax hikes fails.
Remember, California's budgets are now passed by a simple majority, not a 2/3 majority, meaning they pass without the need for any bipartisanship or a single Republican vote.  Democrats own this mess--have for years, really--and don't seem to be doing such a good job at getting us out of it.

So, Teacher X, it's not going to end any time soon.  But I'll bet I know how you're still going to vote this November, all the while wondering why we're in this mess.

Update, 5/13/12This is how we roll in California:
Brown says that, now that the "real" numbers are out, he's going to have to present a revised budget featuring more of the dread "draconian cuts." He promises that cuts will fall heavily on public education spending, prisons, state parks, and other areas that the average person considers to be basic functions of state government. Meanwhile, it will be full speed ahead on high speed rail, the Air Resources Board, the DREAM Act, six-figure pensions to 55-year olds, and welfare benefits and "free" health care to illegal aliens. 

Of course, says Brown, we can avoid all that by passing his "temporary" (hah!) tax increases on the November ballot. Brown really is a social democrat. He obviously thinks "austerity" means cutting essential services and raising taxes while keeping the welfare/redistributionist state intact. It hasn't worked in Europe, so why the heck does he think it'll work here?


Coach Brown said...


I've known you to be honest about politics for a long time. But this comment.....

"California's budgets are now passed by a simple majority, not a 2/3 majority, meaning they pass without the need for any bipartisanship or a single Republican vote."

.....just reeks of either lack of knowledge or serious partisanship. Any revenue generation aspects of a budget still need 2/3 majority vote. So the commentary that a simple majority is needed to pass a state budget is incorrect. If you really want Democrats to own it, then let them own it. Otherwise, the concept of "elections have consequences" is pretty pointless and we will continue to languish.

Darren said...

Any *new* revenue generation requires a 2/3 majority vote. The budget itself doesn't, which means that when the Democrats choose to give money away on more social programs that don't work or on bullet trains to nowhere or on stem cell research that hasn't produced anything, my statement is entirely 100% accurate. And this state is essentially a one-party-rule state, with Dems enjoying what, a 2-1 lead over Republicans in voter registration? The Dems *own* these problems.

Coach Brown said...

You can disagree about how they deal with spending and revenue. But again you are factually incorrect when you say they "own" the budget. If they really own the budget in a true, democratic 50.1% fashion, then let them own it. Otherwise the 2/3 is simple obstructionism and the Republicans become part of the problem.

Darren said...

Nope. They own the spending--and *THAT* is the problem.

Anonymous said...

The fact remains that Jerry Brown has done very little to stop the hemorrhaging of business out of the state. By continuously reaffirming his support for high speed rail and AB32/"green" energy (a stilted "industry") he is eroding the industrial base that made this state great. The economy of California is a emergency room patient suffering from multiple gunshot wounds, contusions, and blunt force trauma and Dr. Brown using leaches, aromatherapy, and chiropractic.

Nearly one-third of federal welfare recipients reside in California. California was once an industrial powerhouse and is becoming an industrial-grade poorhouse.

One third of the legislature has held real jobs and/or run businesses and use common sense, the other two thirds reason by emotion and see no higher calling than "activist".

Jason Dixon

Ellen K said...

At some point the Federal government is going to have to back off entitlement programs. When I walk past a classroom of two students in wheelchairs on cathers being "educated" by two special ed teachers and two aides. Down the hall, the English 2 class has nearly 40 students. While I sympathize with families that have disabled children, the idea that public schools must provide what amounts to daycare from the time they are three until they are 22 years old is simply not affordable in today's economy. Shouldn't we be more worried about educating the kids who will be working (hopefully) to pay taxes which will in turn support such entities as public education?

This same law made it possible for parents to sue public schools for not providing services including such things as changing catheters and other medical procedures in the regular classroom environment. Other than special ed teachers, I don't know anyone that signed onto being a teacher who agreed to handle students with such profound challenges. Yet because of Least Restrictive Environment students who cannot read, write or speak, or find their way to the classroom, are put in classes where stoves or craft knives or other dangerous tools are in normal daily use. As the number of teachers shrink, more of these students will be placed into classes that are inappropriate for their needs. And this is just one program. ESL is another program where classes are size limited by law and where students often linger well past their 18th birthday. At some point these programs too need to be reduced to reasonable levels-levels that don't include having to buy a 15 passenger van for just one class to use to go to therapy or maybe where the teacher student ratio isn't 1:1.

pseudotsuga said...

Let's see what the non-partisan experts at Wikipedia tell us:
"The California State Legislature currently has a Democratic majority, with the Senate consisting of 25 Democrats and 15 Republicans and the Assembly consisting of 52 Democrats and 28 Republicans."
So the Cali Senate has 36 % R and 64% D.
In the Assembly, 22% R and 78% D.

How long has the Golden State been run by the Dems?

"Except for the period from 1995 to 1996, the Assembly has been in Democratic hands since the 1970 election...The Senate has been in Democratic hands continuously since 1970."

So it is clear that if a simple majority is needed, the Ds *own* the budgets, and they own it HARD, for the past 30+ years.
Even if the Rs are mere "obstructionists," clearly they haven't been able to block a whole of lot of spending.

I can see a LOT of job openings in education in California, but I wouldn't apply to them unless I could see that the Cali economy wasn't circling the drain.

Coach Brown said...

Again, if they own it then let them own it. Blocking every revenue possibility with a 2/3 vote means this is not the Democratic Party owning the legislature.

I mean, you guys and continue to drink the Kool-Aid but you will just watch the whole system continue to unravel until the 2/3 vote is tossed. Then if the Democrats make the error, it really IS on them and they can be replaced. But until then the 2/3 vote is an easy political deflection for any problems.

Darren said...

Complete and total crap, unless you're one of those libs who believes that California has an income problem and not a spending problem. The Dems run this state, they have my entire life, and they've run it into the ground. That the Republicans' so-called obstructionism has spared us a few tax increases is *not* the problem.

Anonymous said...

The comments on this article in the LA Dog Trainer gave me some hope.

But pursuant to the comments on this thread, California is basically run by Democrats. And unfortunately, they have effectively cemented their majority for the foreseeable future.

There is no disputing that California also consistently ranks at or near the bottom in every recent business climate survey. It is also beyond dispute that companies are fleeing the state. Even worse, our unfunded pension and past service liabilities (health care benefits for retirees) are causing companies to avoid coming here, as if the regulatory climate wasn't enough to dissuade them.

This is not an accident. Democrats are hostile to business like teenagers are hostile to abstinence as a method of birth control.

Unfortunately, history shows that no one ever learns anything from history, and naturally, the government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always count on the support of Paul.

The problem is, California depends on a small, small subset of the population for a huge chunk of the state's revenue. About 200,000 wealthy folks are supplying California with roughly 25% of it's annual revenue. You can do the math on that-- even after recent net population loss, with our population pushing 40 million, we're getting 25% of our revenue from 0.5% of the state's wealthiest residents, and we have a ballot proposition which, if it passes, will take even more. One problem is that these folks are highly mobile, and they can, and do leave. I know people who are absolutely middle class, and they have either fled the state, or they buy condos in Las Vegas so they can claim Nevada residency for tax purposes, yadda yadda yadda.

The state legislature would rather piss away money on welfare recipients and raise taxes rather than keep the roads decent or subsidize education. And they do piss away quite a bit of money on welfare, which is one reason we have such a disproportionate number of welfare recipients here in California.

The question is: how long can this be sustained? I believe the answer is that we are already seeing the edge of the cliff that we're headed toward here in CA. Once we go over the edge, it's fiscal death spiral time.

Anonymous said...

California - "Land of the Fruits and Nuts!!!" WIll the madness ever cease!?!?!