SACRAMENTO PROGRESSIVE ALLIANCE
Dear Governor Brown, Jan. 31, 2011
In your State of the State Address tonight you requested ideas on where revenues might come from to avoid the painful budget cuts proposed. Here are our recommendations.
It is clear that the California budget is in crisis, and the issues are clear in Governor Brown’s budget proposals. There are no quick nor easy solutions. We can not simply cut our way out of the crisis; budget cuts and lay offs make the recession worse.
School funding reveals the nature of crisis. In the last two years the k-12 budget “solutions” have cut 4.6 billion dollars from the schools. We have larger classes and fewer teachers. School reform has stopped- except for the politicians’ speeches. School funding makes up a total of 30% of the state budget. Any crisis in the state budget and any cuts in the state budget will make school budgets worse.
California will need to raise taxes to fund schools and to repair the social safety net. Anti tax radicals and Republicans oppose any tax increases. The state ‘solutions’ of the last three years depended upon receiving federal stimulus money. The stimulus monies are almost finished and with the Republican winning control of Congress there will probably not be more funds.
The world wide economic crisis was created by U.S. finance capital and banking, mostly on Wall Street , ie. Chase Banks, Bank of America, AIG, and others. Finance capital produced a $ 2 trillion bailout of the financial industry, the doubling of U.S. unemployment rate and the loss of 2 million manufacturing jobs. More than 15 million people are out of work. At the national level almost all of the projected deficit through 2020 will be the result of three factors: the Great recession, the tax cuts of the early 2000s under George W. Bush, and the hundreds of billions of dollars of war spending.
The economic stalemate in California has produced school funding cuts far beyond reasonable levels. At present, the state ranks 47th among all states in its per-pupil spending, spending $2,856 less per pupil than the national average.
In California we need to spend more state money to improve schools, to develop roads and infrastructure, and to create jobs. Those who are well educated are more employed and paying taxes while those with less education, those who leave school, are in a prolonged economic crisis. It is well documented that our schools and our universities are in a finance crisis. We need to be preparing young people for new jobs and to create new industries. The success of students in higher education will significantly determine California’s future competitiveness and prosperity. Improving education, including both k-12 and higher education, makes California more likely to attract investment and the creation of new jobs and new industries.