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What Took Large Hits from Gov. Brown's Budget Plan?

Education took minimal cuts in Brown's proposed budget but the fate of a November tax initiative will ultimately decide the position of public schools.

With a suffocating $9.2 billion deficit in the state of California, Governor Jerry Brown recently released his budget proposal for the 2012-2013 fiscal year.

Massive cuts and proposed taxes will be utilized in a plan developed to close the state’s structural deficit and long-term debt.

“This is not nice stuff,” Brown said in a press conference. “But that's what it takes to balance the budget and that's assuming we get the tax revenues."

Education

After massive cuts totaling nearly $18 billion in recent years, Governor Brown said $79.6 million slash is still to come for K-12 schools if not more.  

“The Governor has offered us a difficult but clear plan to address the challenges we face,” said State School Chief Tom Torkalson in a statement. “Even as it seeks to protect our schools from new across-the-board cuts, the budget lays out the stark choices that come with difficult times.”

Schools will continue to see cuts in all directions if Brown’s tax initiative, set to appear on the ballot in November, is not supported.

“The budget also makes it clear that meeting that obligation will require additional tax revenues—both to prevent new cuts and to finally turn the tide after years of devastating reductions to school budgets statewide,” Torkalson said.

The initiative seeks to increase California sales tax by a half-cent and raise the income tax for citizens who make a yearly income of $250,000 or more.

If it does not pass, Brown said, K-12 California schools would incur a pummeling $4.8 billion in cuts.

The shortage would equal a loss of three weeks of instruction.

Ron Bennett, CEO of School Services of California, said school districts would be best prepared if they planned their budget as if the tax initiative was to fail.

As for cuts to higher education, community college students will see a $10 increase per unit beginning the 2012 summer term.

State Parks

Approximately 70 of the California’s 278 state parks are set to close this year. 

Come July 1, San Mateo County will lose Gray Whale Cove State Beach, Portola Redwoods State Park and Castle Rock State Park.

California State Parks Foundation President Elizabeth Goldstein said that the governor is not promoting honest dialogue concerning state park closures.

“If it was, the governor would be honest with Californians about the safety impacts for the public that will result from the closing of 70 state parks,” Goldstein said in a statement. “The governor would be transparent about the economic impacts that closures will cause and exacerbate in struggling communities up and down the state that rely on park tourism.”

The closure of one-quarter of California’s state parks will account for $22 million reduction in the Department of Parks and Recreation. But much like K-12 education, state parks will also reap heavy consequences if Brown’s November tax initiative does not pass.

Twenty percent of park rangers and all lifeguards on state beaches would be removed from their positions.

“Proposing to eliminate all lifeguards on state beaches and one-fifth of all state park rangers is a grave threat to the public’s safe access to state parks,” Goldstein said. “This cut goes too far and must be stopped.”

Goldstein said the organization will continue to encourage Californians to mobilize and stand up for state parks as they call on lawmakers to react to the governor’s proposals.

“Californians are frustrated with their state parks being held hostage in the budget process,” Goldstein said. “Especially when the claims of “budget savings” from closures are unlikely to materialize, but are likely to end up costing the state and local communities.

High-Speed Rail

Though under heavy opposition, Brown voiced his continued support for the $98 billion .

Brown said he was hopeful the state’s investment would lead to green jobs and a cleaner environment when he announced the allocation of $15.9 million to the High-Speed Rail Authority.

“Governor Brown’s leadership and long-term vision for the future of this State will benefit generations to come,” said Modern High-Speed Rail Authority Chairman Thomas Umberg in a statement. “Transportation infrastructure is fundamental to California’s future economic and environmental well-being.”

Response From Local Lawmakers

Assemblyman Rich Gordon, representative of San Mateo County, reacted to Governor Brown’s proposal with general approval when considering tough economic circumstances.

“There is still much work to be done in making sure California’s fiscal house is in order,” Gordon said. “However, I believe we are on the right track, and as a member of the Assembly Budget Committee, I look forward to the details of this proposal and getting to work immediately.” 

Although Gordon also stated that he could not fathom $9 billion in cuts, he commended the governor for his long-term plans and involvement of California voters.

“I believe the Governor took a balanced approach in proposing a fiscally responsible budget, accounting for both the fragile economy and struggling Californians,” Gordon said. “This budget takes initial steps to further reduce the State’s structural deficit and allows the State to eventually pay down long-term debt, and it asks voters to weigh-in on temporary tax increases.”

Welfare

The state's welfare-to-work program, CalWORKS, suffered one of the largest cuts, nearly $1 billion, according to The San Francisco Chronicle.

Angelique January 16, 2012 at 11:20 PM
Wow!!! So trains are more important than our kids' education?!?!?! Who will be smart enough to run the railway station in the future with a bunch of dumb adults who never received an adequate education?!?!
Chris Corbett January 17, 2012 at 12:16 AM
Hear, hear
nolan January 17, 2012 at 12:55 AM
So when will the politicians receive reduced benefits and pay cuts?
Chris Corbett January 17, 2012 at 01:04 AM
Yeah, right! It will happen sometime between now and when Hell freezes over!
Chris Corbett January 17, 2012 at 02:44 AM
I need Arnie back! How 'bout you?
I Hate Criminal Bureaucrats January 17, 2012 at 07:52 PM
I have ZERO sympathy for the local, state, or federal governments. They are supposed to be managing their allocated budgets just like any individual has to and just like any family or business has to, but the do-nothing, liar government parasites cannot bring themselves to handle their business properly on a year to year basis and always drive the ship into the rocks and then start screaming about the crisis as if they could not see the financial issues at all.
I Hate Criminal Bureaucrats January 17, 2012 at 07:56 PM
I used to like Arnold. THEN, you recall, at the last minute before leaving office, he pardoned a felony inmate from CA prison. And that inmate just happened to be the son of one of Arnolds co-workers in State Government: NUNEZ. So, that taught me that Arnold was a corrupt politician just like the rest. And how do we handle the out of control corruption in our local and state government? We refuse to give them any further tax increases. We strangle their miserable operations for money. We force them to obey us instead of obeying them.
I Hate Criminal Bureaucrats January 17, 2012 at 07:58 PM
Vote for a part time legislative entity in California. Our chance is coming. The first attempt failed but we call it a practice run. Make them all part time like they once were and watch the lifer, political parasites fall away for other employment.
I Hate Criminal Bureaucrats January 17, 2012 at 08:01 PM
Exactly. Trains are more important than kids. And so are the so called "park rangers" who essentially do nothing all day. We could cut 100% of "park rangers" and be just fine in all the parks. Any criminal activity should be handled by street level police anyway. The park staff should be nothing more than janitorial & housekeeping duties. The so called "park ranger" job title at the state level was merely a tactic, and a successful one, that allowed more government employees into that lucrative public safety retirement pension system where those "rangers" get to retire at age 50 with 90% of their pay for life.... a full 17 years before anyone else can even claim social security.
I Hate Criminal Bureaucrats January 17, 2012 at 08:06 PM
You all saw the most recent study by Stanford University regarding the under-funded public pensions, right? Yep. All the studies so far that have looked at the State of California public pensions have confirmed that they are roughly $500 BILLION dollars under-funded. That means that the government needs more money from YOU to pay themselves a cozy retirement at age 50. But, of course, Gov Brown and every other government liar is claiming that they need to raise taxes this coming fall to fund "police and education." Which brings us to another point. Why does Gov Brown lie that he needs more money to fund "police" when the FBI annual crime report has documented that serious crime across California has fallen each year for nine years. Crime is falling, but Gov Brown is working on behalf of the public employee unions and police unions to keep that army of cops on the job when we do not need as many cops any longer. Want to see what cops are really like ? Google : Stockton, CA Police Union Thugs for an eye opener. The cop union there actually bought a house right next door to the City Manager to harrass him. Yep. The badge does not make them good people.
Chris Corbett January 18, 2012 at 01:13 AM
Regarding government, I must say I love Obama and his wife. I love seeing her and the Rock on the Disney Channel so much. Even though my bank account is roughly $20K less than it was with Bush, I maintain Obama does far more good than bad! Arnie was good too!

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