Cal Budget: Even With Steep Cuts, Your Kids Will Still Meditate In School

After weeks of dire warnings about budget cuts so gruesome nothing could prepare you for the horror, California Gov. Jerry Brown has released his proposed budget. Pregnant women, people with heart conditions and children under the age of 17 will absolutely not be allowed to view the 266-page proposal [pdf], a savage nightmare journey that delivers on quite a few of the promised cuts but, like so much that comes out of the Golden State, falls short of box office expectations.

The broad breakdown: Of the total $84.6 billion in 2011-2012 spending, 29.6 percent will go to K-12 education; 28.1 to health and human services; 10 percent to business, transportation and housing (how do those three go together?); 8.3 percent to "higher education"; 7.2 to imprison people; 5.3 percent to general government; 4.5 percent to legislative, judicial and executive; 4.1 to natural resources; 1.2 percent to environmental protection; 1.1 to state and consumer "services"; and 0.6 percent to labor and workforce development.

Brown claims this year's budget, if enacted in its current form, will chop $12.5 billion from a projected $25 billion deficit over the next two years. Republicans say the deficit reduction will come closer to $8 billion.

I say the budget could come nowhere close to being balanced and it would still be a step in the right direction for one reason alone: Brown is proposing to eliminate all state funding for the redevelopment agencies that have brought nothing but blight and union thuggery to the state's major cities. I'll have more on the RDAs' long trail of destruction in an upcoming column, but Brown's effort -- though it will almost certainly die in the goon-controlled legislature -- deserves a deep bow/curtsy.

Other items of interest in the budget: A new proposal for "realignment" of state and local spending and decision-making. This is another favorite item of Jerry Brown's that draws deep opposition from both the right and the left. The former Oakland mayor's wish to devolve more decisions to local governments is genuine, but it is also bound up in his history of opposition to Proposition 13, the 1978 constitutional limit on property tax rates that has over time resulted in centralization of public school budgeting in Sacramento. In an L.A. Times op-ed, Los Angeles County Supervisors Zev Yaroslavsky and Gloria Molina recoil in horror at the prospect of realignment, but part of their argument -- that Prop 13 limits make it impossible for counties to handle jobs now done by the state -- hints at Brown's longterm goal: to get rid of Prop 13 entirely.

That having been said, Prop 13 is untouched in the current proposal, as are elementary and high school education. That's not a huge achievement -- these spending decisions are largely restricted by voter-approved constitutional changes. But it's a credit to Jerry Brown that the proposal contains cuts as steep as any that ever came out of Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Which is another way of saying it is unlikely to pass in anything like its current form. The Contra Costa Times' Josh Richman has a good roundup of reactions, including a pretty categorical piss-take from the California Federation of Teachers and a polite rejection from Service Employees International Union. Also in the negative column are the heads of the University of California, California State, and California Community College systems (who really should be made to go into Thunderdome on a three-schools-enter-two-schools-leave basis). According to one analysis I've seen, the new budget would mean that for the first time, out-of-pocket costs for tuition will be larger than the state subsidy -- and everybody knows that when students have to pay for the majority of their worthless diplomas, California will become Somalia with a longer coastline.

Republicans are unhappy with the budget, and even Democratic leaders like Assembly Speaker John Perez can only manage grudging assent. Which raises a deliciously diabolical possibility: Even with total political control and the straight-majority budget requirement approved in Prop 25 last November, the Democrats may not be able to pass a budget on schedule. And as Jerry Brown admitted in a press conference today, he doesn't really have a plan B if this one goes down in flames. Good times...

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  • Dello||

    OT, but speaking of maps with targets:

    http://www­.verumseru­m.com/?p=1­3647

  • Spiny Norman||

    You know, California Uber Alles is just the kind of heated rhetoric that leads to rampages. You know how unstable some of these commenters are.

  • ||

    +1

  • skr||

    I think every Jerry Brown piece needs to have California Uber Alles attached.

  • ||

    California coastline = 840mi
    Somali coastline = 1,870 mi

    I'm just sayin'. . .

  • jester||

    Including San Francisco Bay? Wow. Who'd've thought?

  • ||

    Actually, both coastlines are infinitely long.

  • ||

    Even with total political control and the straight-majority budget requirement approved in Prop 25 last November, the Democrats may not be able to pass a budget on schedule.

    Yup, the one silver lining from the last election cycle: the Democrats no longer have anyone but themselves to blame for getting the budget in on time.

  • LifeStrategies||

    The Federal Democrats haven't passed a budget for several years either, yet they still blame everyone else for the problem. It's never their fault.

    Yet many voters continue to buy their story as trust in government and politicians continues to fall...

  • skr||

    At least Brown is smart enough not to piss off the Teachers Union right out of the gates. I was impressed with him cutting everything else but education. Keep the teachers behind you for the first couple rounds by throwing them a bone.

  • ||

    Let's see, now:

    5.3% to general government
    4.5% to legislative, judicial and executive
    =====
    9.8%

    So, just 9.8% of the total could be characterized as being within the proper sphere of government.

    What's that you say? I left out the part for prisons? Ok, fine:

    5.3% to general government
    4.5% to legislative, judicial and executive
    7.2% to imprison people
    =====
    17.0%

    Thus, 83% of the budget is excess. Who should be blamed?

    Let's blame the party of limited government, in proportion to its members' representation in the California state assembly and governor's mansion during the years in which the excessive spending was called for.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Wow.

  • ||

    +2

  • ||

    I read a piece about Jerry's budget earlier; the question which immediately jumped into my head was, "What are the chances?" The person who wrote the article, apparently a Jerry Brown fan, left the question not only unanswered but unasked.

  • SIV||

    the goon-controlled legislature

    You need to elect Popeye as governor.

  • ||

    Let it blow up.

  • ||

    How does Prop 13 limit anything? It limits property taxes, not revenue. Every other tax can be raised or expanded in scope, which makes Prop 13 meaningless in terms of limiting government.

  • sevo||

    Bob Smith|1.10.11 @ 9:06PM|#
    "How does Prop 13 limit anything?"

    It limits lefties' ability to think; they focus on the fact that some folks aren't being soaked by the government, and it pisses them off to the extent that they ignore everything else.

  • Cytotoxic||

    So it limits the already limitlessly limited? It is pointless.

  • ||

    Now you begin to approach understanding California politics.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    I'd LOVE to have some limit on raising property taxes. Fuck, my house isn't worth nearly what the assessors' office says it is, and they jacked up the rates anyway. Again.

    Apply this everywhere property is taxed.

    Oh, and bonus kick in the nads: The local liberals say we deserve to pay higher property taxes, and to stop bitching because property-owners deserve getting kicked in the nads.

    Fucking liberals.

  • Liberal Douchebag||

    You own property? I'll bet you THINK you have "rights" to that property... you racist fuck.

  • ||

    What's to stop them from raising the other 500 taxes you pay to compensate for your property tax limit? You don't need a limit on property taxes, you need a limit on total tax revenue with mandatory and automatic tax reductions if they exceed their revenue limit.

  • sevo||

    "Brown claims this year's budget, if enacted in its current form, will chop $12.5 billion from a projected $25 billion deficit over the next two years."

    I'm claiming Brown is a lying sack of stuff.

  • ||

    This is what pisses me off. WIth the complicated accounting that states use, the sentence quoted by Sevo makes no sense. California does its budget for one year, not two, so are 12.5 billion in savings going to occur each of the next two years, or are total cuts over the two year period going to amount to 12.5 billion? Is that 25 billion dollar deficit quoted a yearly deficit or is that the combined deficit of two annual budgets? These kind of statements raise more questions than answers. I mean, for fucks sake, try looking this shit up on the internet sometime.

  • ||

    WHat I meant by "try looking this shit up on the internet sometime." is that it is impossible to research this kind of stuff on your own unless you actually have some sort of access to the actual books and enough time to sort through the BS.

    From what I'm reading, california is expected to incur a deficit as high as 28 billion dollars over the next 18 months.

  • sevo||

    tkwelge|1.10.11 @ 10:37PM|#
    "WHat I meant by "try looking this shit up on the internet sometime." is that it is impossible to research this kind of stuff..."
    Pretty sure the reason is that the claims are based on total bullshit. Brown is claiming "X" knowing full well that the claim cannot be checked.
    He is and always has been a lying sack of stuff who has never actually held a job, and he has no reason to change now.

  • ||

    I'm out of this libtard state. God damn. Do you guys know what it feels like when they do nothing but raise taxes EVERY FUCKING YEAR and cut services at the same time EVERY FUCKING YEAR. Every year of my tax-paying adult life, this is what I put up with. I can't claim any goddamn deduction because I'm a middle-class single man with no crotchfruit to deduct. I'm like Dunkin, California runs exclusively on people like me while whorebagmactwatbitches can ride the gravy train to Michoacan. This is bullshit. I have decided that I'm going to Texas. The good parts so I'm guessing the non-libtard parts of Austin, Dallas, and Houston.

  • Old Man with Candy||

    You'll love Austin. Until the summer when you see tungsten melting.

  • ||

    You'll love Austin. Until the summer when you see tungsten melting.

    ===

    I've lived in Coachella Valley. I don't think I cared about the heat a whit. But I guess that's dry heat. I don't know what humidity is having been SoCal for life. 300 million people seem to do fine living in non-California weather.

    Seriously though there are Texas jobs I've applied to and just waiting. Google Maps has a Real Estate feature where you can find rentals and homes. It's pretty depressing to see what stuff costs here compared to there. Clarksville in Austin interests me and so are some of its northern suburbs. Houston proper looks depressing except for probably Montrose-Galleria-University Park. I don't know about Dallas. Weather.com says it's too cold for me.

    Since part of my reason to want to move is because Maxine Waters is my congressho, I also check out maps of legislative districts to make sure I don't get represented by a libtard in another state. Though that's pretty easy in Texas. By the way, NY Times, besides being useful as cuntwipes, has a census map where you can kinda be discriminating about who your neighbors will be: http://projects.nytimes.com/ce.....rer?ref=us

  • ||

    If you're pissed off by California's politics and taxation, I suggest steering well clear of Austin. I could be wrong, I don't live there (in Sonoma County, actually), but from frequent visits and conversations with relatives there, it won't bring the change you crave. Though I'll grant that anyplace not repped by Maxine Waters is arguably an improvement by definition.

  • ||

    I heard Austin's libtardation has its limits, both geographical and ideological. I don't think it's gonna be like LA where they ban fast food, or Frisco, where they seriously consider banning Happy Meals. The thing about California is that the rot is just very deep, even Orange County would seem far-left compared to Austin regulation-wise if not in spirit. California is not at all a libertarian place. Plus, I don't have to live in city proper; I can just be outside it.

  • ||

    In short: I want to fucking move away from this hellhole of this state. I've tried very hard in these past few years to be optimistic, and there's just no "there" there anymore. The future of California is basically a crowded middling state that trades on its once past glories and can't seem to shake those memories off. Yes, it will have its momentary "recoveries" when the state crows for a nanosecond about being back from the grave. Then that bubble bursts as well just as quickly. It's just so sad to realize that all the state's past 3 "recoveries" were all fueled by economic bubbles. And like the previous bubbles, the state has no fucking idea when and where the next one is going to come, or ever. We're Italy, California is gonna be a beautiful corpse.

  • ||

    There's really no choice now but to bleed out the middle class. You can raise taxes on the rich but they have options (postpone taxes, more munis etc) to avoid them. The middle class? You add 1% to the rate and you can pretty much count on 1% of last year's applicable income hitting the state coffers.

    I'm staying for as long as I have a job where I get paid well relative to the work, as I currently have. But when that goes all I have is an underwater house to keep me here.

  • Prohibition Kills||

    I live in central IL. I have an empathic bond with your sentiment.

    We. Are. Fucked. Here.

  • ||

    If you want to avoid the rat race of Dallas, Houston, or Austin, just move to Fort Worth. You're right next to Dallas, but you don't have the same level of crime or sprawl.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Move to Shiner, Texas, so you can be near the brewery.

    Well, that's what I would do.

  • Ebeneezer Scrooge||

    California runs exclusively on people like me while whorebagmactwatbitches can ride the gravy train

    That line alone made this whole thread worth reading.

  • johnl||

    Redevelopment is responsible for more outright looting by developers than union thuggery but it's a great thing to lose either way. Even though devolution will mean counties will have to increase taxes as the state closes all service functions it's an improvement.

  • Liberal Douchebag||

    But... but... kids have the right to meditate! It's in the Constitution! AND it has to be paid for by taxpayers! Whine! Snivel!

  • Southerner||

    Well, you know what we say around here:

    "As long as there are math tests, there will always be prayer in schools!"

  • Ace ||

    I was just...meditating. And if I don't finish meditating I get VERY cranky.

  • ||

    the University of California, California State, and California Community College systems (who really should be made to go into Thunderdome on a three-schools-enter-two-schools-leave basis)

    This is why I pay out the wazoo to read Reason.com.

    Wait, what?

  • Ebeneezer Scrooge||

    Now I for one have a policy of just not telling what it is that I'm doing with my wazoo. But hey, it's your wazoo.

    I would however buy tickets to this particular event.

  • ||

    Oh, and am I the only one to read "mediate in school" and think that was actually a plus?

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