The good news about the mid-year state cuts


Well, there isn't much good news, really -- Gov. Jerry just announced another $1 billion in cuts, mostly to education and services for the disabled and poor. Check out the state's priorities: $429.6 million in cuts to education, $225 million in cuts to MediCal, In-Home Supportive Services and developmental services -- and a whopping $20 million in cuts to the prison system.

Supporters of K-12 education will walk away a little happier than they expected; the direct cuts (which could have meant losing an entire week of the school year) will amount to far less, only about $11 a student. But that doesn't include $248 million in cuts to state funding for school transportation, which a lot of district will have to absorb in other ways. In San Francisco, it's easier for kids in middle school and high school to take Muni; in more rural areas, school buses are a bigger deal.

Missing in a lot of the MSM coverage of the midyear cuts is the fact that the state is actually spending more money than expected. As Calitics points out, that's no surprise:

It turns out that during a bad economic period, people need more services, but in the current climate in Sacramento, getting the legislature to approve the revenues for those services is an impossible feat even for somebody with the experience of Jerry Brown.

But here's what's interesting. In his press conference, Brown noted that the bright spot on the state's fiscal front was increased money coming in from Prop. 63 -- a surtax on incomes of more than $1 million to pay for services for the mentally ill. Which means that there's additional money to be made by taxing the very rich.

And the voters seem more than willing to do just that.



when it comes to attacking the deficit. It's far too large for that to make much difference. Meaning that any future tax hikes are going to hit the middle class, and hard.

While the rich can afford fancy accountants to make the problem go away.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 13, 2011 @ 3:49 pm

It would be nice if state employees (eligible to retire at 55, paying 0% for healthcare) could chip in and accept part of the pain.

Fortunately, Brown is addressing this issue

Posted by Guest on Dec. 13, 2011 @ 9:04 pm

the excessive benefits for government workers has been addressed. Why should I pay more tax to fund both their pensions and mine?

Also, re the sales tax idea, even liberal San Francisco rejected a 0.5% increase in the sales tax at last month's election. Given that the State is more right-wing than SF, I can't see it passing.

Tax propositions require a 2/3 vote, right?

Posted by Guest on Dec. 14, 2011 @ 6:20 am

The governor's recently unveiled tax proposal apparently enjoys broad support. Almost 2/3 of recently polled voters support it

It's not surprising he did his homework to find out what voters would accept. The emphasis on K-12 education helps its popularity, as well as including a 1-2% income tax increase only on those making more than $250,000, a tiny segment of all taxpayers.

Including a sales tax is a big negative for those of us who oppose any more regressive taxes, but a 1/2 cent increase to support K-12 education will nudge some of us to support this measure next November. The tax approval rating goes from 65% to 70% after being told the money will go towards K-12 funding.

Here's Dan Walters' take on the governor's tax proposal. Dan's columns are a must-read for anyone looking for a thoughtful perspective of various state budget issues. California is going to lose a very knowledgable point of view when he retires or when the McClatchy Company finally goes bankrupt since the media/advertising channels have changed so dramatically over the past 5 years, impacting TV and newspapers the most.

A general fund tax increase only needs 50% approval when it's voted on during an election when legislators are also on the ballot - essentially every other November. The Nov '12 election will see lots of state and local tax measures on the ballot, with politicians (and their 'tax and spend' supporters) hoping to reach that often elusive 50%+1 vote approval. Having a presidential election at the same time brings out the voters, so I suspect there will be all sorts of other bonds/spending proposals on the ballot too, but these generally need 2/3 support. Sure hope I get to vote for Ron Paul next November, either as the Republican or as a 3rd Party candidate!

Posted by Guest on Dec. 14, 2011 @ 9:47 am

As I said, even SF voted down the sales tax hike last month.

And the fact that there will be many tax measures on the ballot, as you claim, means that each one has a smaller chance of winning.

Still, as you note, the opinion poll shows support shy of the 2/3 mark, which should kill off most of them, and rightly so.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 14, 2011 @ 10:59 am

easily recoup that by simply repealing the current bussing policy, whereby kids get sent to schools far away from where they live for no reason other than social engineering.

Re-implement local schools.

Posted by Anonymous on Dec. 14, 2011 @ 1:00 pm