Monday, October 22, 2012

Proposition 30 "Trigger Cuts" Threat to K-12 Public Education Adds Up to a Whole Lot of Nothing

If California voters don't pass Proposition 30, Governor Brown forecasts dire consequence that "K-12 schools will lose about $4.5 billion" via the "trigger cuts" provision the California budget that he helped create.

Are these really cuts?  As will all prognostications from politicians, it all depends on what your definition of "is" is.

Let's see what this really means.

Please point your trusty web browser at the California Budget web site.  In specific, find the document  California 2012-2013 Budget Summary Charts (May Revision).  Turn to page 4 and examine Figure SUM-06, duplicated below.

Find the table entry "K-12 Education" (highlighted above) and notice that the 2012-13 budget year ADDS another $4,502 million (or $4.5 BILLION) in NEW SPENDING (highlighted in red) over last year (2011-12), a 13.2% INCREASE.

If those pesky voters don't pass Proposition 30 tax hikes, let's calculate the net effect on last year's K-12 spending.  I know that the math is difficult, but please try to keep up.  What is $4.5 BILLION minus $4.5 BILLION?  If I'm doing my math correctly, that's pretty close to $0.

This means that a no vote on Proposition 30 keeps K-12 spending roughly the same as last year (and we remember how the kids ran rampant through the streets last year, right?).  It doesn't INCREASE K-12 education by $4.5 BILLION nor does it DECREASE it by $4.5 BILLION.  That's a very much different claim than a $4.5B "cut" to K-12 education.

Is Governor Brown's claim deceptive.  I'll let you decide.

Could we do better by our kids than what the Legislature provided in the budget?  No doubt.  Public education should be a priority.  However, the state has too many other spending obligations that soak up scarce resources.  California will spend $5.4 BILLION to service our debt on General Fund bonds with $3.8 BILLION going just to interest.  See "State of California: Debt Affordability Report (October 2012)", page 22.  And those aren't the only bond obligations!  REFORM is the solution, not tax hikes.

Me? I'm voting NO ON PROPOSITION 30.  Here's why.

1 comment:

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