1) School funding is always first to be cut
Governor Jerry Brown released his revised budget plan for the fiscal year starting July 1st showing California’s deficit is at $15.7 billion—or about 17% of its $91 billion general fund, aka California check book for day-to-day operations. The $15.7 shortage is much higher than $9.2 billion estimated by Brown in January.
On the table is the tax increase initiative for voters to decide in November, if passed:
-it will increase the sales tax by 0.25%, temporary for 4 years
-it will raise the income taxes on people making more than $250,000 a year starting with increase of 1% up to 3%, temporary for 7 years
If this tax increase initiative is passed then the spending per students will increase from $7,170 in 2011-2012 to $7,969 in 2012-2013.
On the other hand, if the voters disapprove the initiative, then K-12 will face a cut of $5.5 billion to K-12—about $400 per student—and $250 million each to California State University and University of California.
Since 2007, California has consistently cut education spending every year. In 2006-2007, CA spent $8700 per student. This year, CA spends $7170.
2) Spending on prisoners is higher than spending on students
While CA spends less than $8000 per student, it is spending close to $50,000 per prisoner in state prisons. For each prisoner, CA spends $12,442 in health care and $19,663 in security.
California prison system costs over $10 billion a year as prison population has been increasing tremendously since the passage of “Three Strikes You’re Out!” law in 1994. From 1982 to 2000, CA prison population increased 500%. In 2005, the state rate of incarceration was 616 per 100,000 adults. As of November 2011, there were more than 143,000 prisoners in CA’s state prisons—this number was lowered after the Supreme Court ordered CA to release more than 33,000 inmates due to the overcrowding conditions in state prisons.
It seems to me that CA does not have its priority straight. CA should privatize its state prisons and save money on the public employee union.
Actually, I have a better idea for Sacramento to consider…put all prisoners serving longer than 5 years on a ship to China or Vietnam. I am sure China or Vietnam will take them for less than $5000 per prisoners. Save the money and spend them on the kids—the future of this state.
3) Voters’ faults
There have been lots of comparisons between Jerry Brown and Christ Christie of New Jersey.
Christ Christie—a Republican governor—closed a $10.7 billion deficit without a tax raise. He actually is proposing a 10% all-across-the-board tax cut.
Brown is proposing a 1%-3% tax increase on people making more than $250,000. Christ Christie vetoed the “millionaire’s tax” bill that New Jersey Democrats sent to him.
Brown—despite his tough talk about unions—actually gave the unions collective bargain rights the last time he was governor. Christie convinced his Democrat legislature to require government workers to contribute more into their health care and pension benefits. Of course, Scott Walker was best in dealing with public employee unions in his state of Wisconsin.
Well, you got the picture—the sharp contrast between Democrat and Republican ideologies.
It’s voter’s fault that we have Jerry Brown instead of Meg Whitman in Sacramento.
4) Tough decision for parents—to pass or not to pass
As a parent, this decision—to approve or disapprove the tax initiative—is tough.
On one hand, raising tax when economy is stagnant and unemployment is high is not a good idea—most small business owners file tax as individual and will be affected by this tax increase.
Taxes in California are already higher than rest of the country.
California state government—including both houses of legislature and the governor—has proven that they should not be trusted with tax payers’ money. A government that decided to go ahead with the bullet train project even though the new cost estimate increased to almost $100 billion (about three times the original estimate) should not be trusted with additional tax money.
However, if tax initiative is not passed, the school system—already ranked 30th in the US—will face more difficulties. And this is the dilemma for the CA parents as well as responsible state residents.