by Ellinorianne in the Orange County Progressive
Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 11:39:45 AM PDT - This is what it's come down to? We really want to continue the downward spiral of our schools by deepening already severe budget cuts?
It's bleak for a reason, because California used to lead the way in education and almost everything else and right now it seems the only thing we are leading in is the doom and gloom of the current economic cloud that hangs over the entire Nation. We're leading the way in shrinking the Government to the size we can drown it in a toilet.
RICHMOND, Calif. (AP) - California's historic budget crisis threatens to devastate a public education system that was once considered a national model but now ranks near the bottom in school funding and academic achievement.
Deep budget cuts are forcing California school districts to lay off thousands of teachers, expand class sizes, close schools, eliminate bus service, cancel summer school programs, and possibly shorten the academic year.
"California used to lead the nation in education," U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said during a recent visit to San Francisco. "Honestly, I think California has lost its way, and I think the long-term consequences of that are very troubling."
So what are our local [Orange County] Republican leaders saying about this?
Nothing new, that's for sure and still attempting to sell the same tired talking points.
Democrats want California schools to get billions that voters rejected reads the headline with nothing to support this supposition besides the same old tire excuses.
Sen. Mimi Walters, R-Laguna Niguel, said the proposal to commit $7.9 billion to schools directly contradicts the people's will.
"The voters have spoken and we need to listen," Walters said. "Unfortunately, the majority party in Sacramento isn't listening."
Democrats counter that a lawsuit already has been filed by the California Federation of Teachers over the disputed $7.9 billion and, if the state loses, it could be forced to begin payments much sooner than the proposed 2011-2012.
"The state is still at risk for owing the entire (amount) immediately," said Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento. "So what the conference committee action allows is for an easy payment plan."
I've spoken to your constituents Senator Walters and many of them are heart sick regarding the cuts to the education system, Republican and Democrat alike would rather pay more taxes than see our children's futures slashed even further by legislators in Sacramento who don't even have children in the public school system.
And there is a reason voters passed prop 98, so that in times like these we wouldn't jeopardize our public education system in the name of Howard Jarvis. We get that people feel taxed enough already, but there are huge segments of our population that are not taxed enough already.
TEA parties should start so that we can demand that corporations pay their fair share in property taxes. WE should demand that the tax code be far more progressive so that someone making $50,000 a year isn't paying the same rate as someone making $900,000 a year. Reagan got it, why can't the yacht party of no get it?
So here I go again, quoting the Binder Poll released right after the majority of the propositions failed in May. And in the poll, 57% of those questioned said they'd rather pay more in taxes than see education and health care services cut. FIFTY SEVEN PERCENT. Is that a landslide? No, but it's a simple majority and many of those people voted NO on Prop 1A and 1B.
75 percent support increasing taxes on alcoholic beverages (62 percent among 'No on 1A' voters) 74 percent support increasing taxes on tobacco (62 percent among 'No' voters) 73 percent support "imposing an oil extraction tax on oil companies just like every other oil producing state" (60 percent among 'No' voters) 63 percent support "closing the loophole that allows corporations to avoid reassessment of the value of new property they purchase" (58 percent among 'No' voters) 63 percent support "increasing the top bracket of the state income tax from 9.3 percent to 10 percent for families with taxable income over $272,000 a year and to eleven percent for families with taxable incomes over $544,000 a year (51 percent among 'No' voters) 59 percent support prohibiting corporations from using tax credits to offset more than fifty percent of the taxes they owe (55 percent among 'No' voters)
As Calitics puts it so eloquently, Facts Are Stupid Things, Californians would rather pay more in taxes than see the education system gutted.
Contrary to what the Governor is saying after the defeat of his proposals, Prop 1A did not fail because voters delivered a message to "go all out" in cutting government spending. The all-time record low turnout for a statewide special election clearly demonstrates the lack of depth to that argument. Prop 1A did not
generate a spike in turnout and taxes were not cited as the main reason why voters overwhelmingly rejected Prop 1A. Support for a state budget that relies solely on spending cuts is very limited - even among those voting no on Prop 1a.
Voters simply do not trust the leadership in Sacramento, and recognize that the failed special election was just another example of the inability to bring real solutions to voters. When given two choices, four out of five voters - even among those who voted 'Yes' on 1A - agreed that the special election was just another example of the failure of the Governor and Legislature, who should make the hard decisions necessary to really fix the budget. Only 20% agreed the special election was a sincere effort to fix the state's budget mess.
Stop blaming each other and start fixing this mess right now. Democrats have compromised far too much and Republicans refuse to budge. Just as the situation is complicated, so is the message that the voters sent on May 19th.
- Ellinorianne is the nom-de-blog of Heather Pritchard
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