By Len Feldman
CTA is pressing the Legislature to approve a new state budget that will provide public education with more funding.
Both houses of the Legislature have begun their review of Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed 2012-13 budget. Lawmakers are working against a June 15 deadline for sending their version back to the governor for his signature.
The governor’s proposed spending plan provides K-12 schools with an additional $4.9 billion in desperately needed Proposition 98 funding, but there’s a catch. Trigger cuts would eliminate the increase if voters turn down his proposed temporary tax initiative in November.
Schools are already reeling from more than $20 billion in cuts in recent years, and the loss of the additional revenues would trigger additional cuts that would continue to keep class sizes high, boost the number of layoffs, and decimate instructional programs.
“Our students, our schools, and our members have been hard hit by these reductions,” says CTA President Dean E. Vogel. “CTA is supporting the governor’s initiative so that we can begin to deal with the state budget deficit responsibly while we increase funding for our schools and colleges.”
To avoid additional staggering cuts in funding, the governor’s budget assumes that voters will pass his proposed initiative.
The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) — an advisory body to the Legislature — has been recommending that lawmakers work slowly toward the adoption of a budget so that they can rely on updated revenue forecasts. The LAO is looking toward April tax collections that could come in higher than projections.
Among variables in the mix is how much the state will garner from pending initial public offerings (IPOs) from companies like Facebook. These releases of stock often generate millions of dollars for the company’s owners, obligating them to pay taxes on their stock capital gains.
Few observers believe, though, that such revenues will take the place of the modest income tax boost on the wealthy and the temporary sales tax that the governor’s initiative would implement.