By smf for 4LAKidsNews
“CALIFORNIA'S BUDGET PLAN BALANCED WITH RISKY ASSUMPTIONS” by Chris Megerian/Los Angeles Times (July 2, 2012) pretty well predicts that that light at the end of the California public education funding tunnel is an incoming runaway train – highballing to hell:
“Gov. Jerry Brown has bet a portion of California's financial health on the expectation that a hyperpartisan Congress will change course on a hotly debated tax policy this year. The budget Brown signed last week assumes that over the next four years the state will reap almost $2.3 billion from the federal estate tax, a levy on wealth inheritance. California hasn't collected any revenue from the tax since 2004, and if Congress sticks with current policy it won't in the coming years, either. "It seems most likely the state will see no such revenues," said Jason Sisney, a deputy at the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office, which advises lawmakers on financial matters. A report from that office last fall warned that California should not anticipate otherwise. The Brown administration estimates a relatively small amount of revenue, $45 million, in the budget year that began this week. But by the 2015-16 fiscal year, officials are counting on $1.2 billion. That assumption has helped Brown and Democratic lawmakers insist that California will emerge from its financial turmoil with a budget surplus three years from now. "I believe that if we continue on this path, this era of unending deficits will be behind us," Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) told reporters after the Legislature finalized its budget bills last week. (more)”
Besides for the ‘ain't-gonna happen” inheritance tax revenues (beloved by the GOP as” Death Taxes” - not to be confused with “Death Panels” or Grover Norquist's “All Taxes are Dead on Arrival”) - and the dependence upon the governors tax initiative passing (and getting more votes than the PTA/Munger initiative) there is this bit of twisted illogic in the article – the illogic not driven by poor reporting, but by poor governing philosophy:
“H.D. Palmer, a spokesman for Brown's Department of Finance, said it's not that simple. If the state pulls in less revenue, it won't be required to spend as much on public schools under California's voter-approved funding formula. (Prop 98) That would ease the burden on the budget.
In other words, if revenues based on these irrational guestimates fall short – even if the governor’s tax increase is approved by the voters – they will cut funding to education. And the burden on the budget – but not on the schools or the students or the teachers – is “eased”.
Because balancing the budget is the most important thing. Or is it teacher evaluation? Test scores? Getting reelected? It’s a Monty Python routine: “The two most important things are: The budget and test scores and… I mean the three…
…the analyst's office said in a report last November: "Most observers believe that, no matter what Congress does to the estate tax in 2012," California won't be able to collect money from it. The report cautioned lawmakers not to incorporate any such revenue into the budget "unless there is a clear indication from Congress" that it will be available.
There was no such indication – and the governor and the legislature did it anyway.
And all of this buried in the trigger cuts provision of the infamous education budget trailer bill:
ASSEMBLY BILL 1476 SEC. 53. (Ed Code a46201.4 (d) 1)
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