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Governor Brown's "Balanced" Budget

Governor Jerry Brown just released optimistic budget proposals. Rosy projections and increased spending do not a balanced budget make, Governor Brown! Cut the spending!

In a recent press conference, Governor Jerry Brown announced a "balanced" California budget. At the same time, Governor Brown admits that a "wall of debt" remains. If that is the case, then the budget is not balanced. Either Governor "Moonbeam" has been hanging out in the sun too long, or he thinks that any news would be good news, and since voters have endured darker, leaner times, that the voters will take anything as a “ray of light.”

Brown's "balanced" budget relies on rising revenues which have not been raised yet. Higher taxes rates do not mean higher revenues. These projections are examples of more slippery accounting which puts pressure on our public schools without providing proper revenue streams in the future. State Sen. Ted Lieu attempted to sell the line that the California state budget was balanced, with "only" a one billion dollar deficit remaining. This is not budgeting. This is blowing hot air and calling it “substance”. One is tempted to write: "Don't pee on my leg and tell me it's raining," when in reality this budget seems more like "BS" to voters in the South Bay.

All of Brown's accounting amounts to more of the same “Sacramento smoke and mirrors,” pure and simple. Taking the lead on "restoring funding", the governor wants to spend more money because the "deficits" have diminished. The last thing that the state legislature should be doing is spending more money, starting with “poor” public schools, which are not poor because they are not getting enough money. The student-teacher ratio is smaller in the inner city schools because they receive Title One funds.

If students in struggling schools are “struggling” to get a proper education, then the Governor should be the first to demand school choice for all students. Centinela Valley Union High School District , long regarded as one of the most dysfunctional districts in Los Angeles County, had to implement choice and install tighter security to keep student enrollment up. Charter schools in the LAX area are eating away at enrollment in LA school districts, including Inglewood Unified Dchool District , which entered into state receivership because of fiscal "problems." Wiseburn School District is breaking away to unify on its own. More freedom for the school districts, more freedom for the schools, more fiscal prudence, and students who are receiving a "poor" education can get something better.

Of course, Governor Brown could cut more sources of excessive spending. The Central Valley "bullet train" project is still shooting the state in the foot. When will the governor put the brakes on this wasteful project? Even recently re-elected state Sen. Fran Pavley assented that this boondoggle needs to be put on hold. How many billions of those "train" dollars could go toward training our youth? Future graduates may not be able not catch a train to the Central Valley, but at least they could earn a high school diploma, enroll in a state university, and get a good enough job to buy a car.

Still, like many liberal elites, Governor Brown is convinced that more money, more spending will improve the "poor education" of "poor" students in "poor" communities. However, four-fifths of the school districts' money goes toward employee pensions and benefits. The "wall of debt" lamented by the Governor stems from these lavish retirement obligations still weighing on the state. Tackle the spending, reform the entitlements, and the students will benefit from the properly redirected funds.

Governor Brown should also suspend the "Cap and Trade" program, even though credits went on sale last November. Contrary to initial projections, the carbon credit auction brought in a "grand" total of $55 million (as opposed to $1 billion). The California Chamber of Commerce sued to enjoin this unwieldy green bureaucracy. In their complaint, the Chamber submitted that this massive environmental intervention will cost the state $70 billion. Currently, electricity prices are rising because of "Cap and Trade". Governor Brown has already acknowledged that California's finances still hang in the balance, in spite of tax increases and slight job growth. Instead of taxing businesses and capping carbon emissions, the Governor should suspend the program, one enacted by a Republican governor, no less.

While Brown talks a good talk about balancing budgets, and even though he has acknowledged that his budget proposals rest on some over-optimistic expectations, and he also recognizes the still-imposing "wall of debt", the state of California continues to spend too much. Like Washington D.C., the lack of revenue is not the problem. The high taxes, the excessive regulations, and the fiscal management at the County and State levels are exacerbating the public debt in California.

Governor Brown’s “balanced” budget is anything but. California voters should hope that Republicans (and some Democrats) in Sacramento hold the governor's fiscal feet to the fire. The diminished Republican caucuses in Sacramento do not have to sit out until the next election. They can propose flexibility in funding for county and city governments. They can plea for eliminating waste and fraud in the state bureaucracy. They can also reach out to conservative Democratic voters and Democratic legislators in swing districts.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Catch A Wave January 12, 2013 at 01:59 AM
Typical rhetoric of the defeated and vanquished reactionary right. They just can't stand it when a Democrat turns out to be exactly right; in this case saving California from a financial abyss. Jerry Brown balanced California's budget, ending the fiscal crisis. With a surplus of $851 million for the year in addition to a projected $785 million surplus for the current fiscal year, California will be able to put $1 billion away toward a rainy day fund. "California job growth tops the national average, unemployment has fallen below double-digit levels for the first time in nearly four years, and voters in November approved a tax increase that closed most of the lingering budget gap. The state Department of Finance on Thursday projected unemployment will fall to 9.6 percent this year and 8.7 percent in 2014."
Catch A Wave January 12, 2013 at 02:02 AM
The truth hurts doesn't it? California faced deficits of $9 billion just a year ago and $25 billion two years ago.
Arthur Christopher Schaper January 12, 2013 at 06:22 PM
I'm a surfrider and a truth-teller. When those "projections" create concrete surpluses, then we can believe and "hang-ten". However, they have not "washed up" on shore yet. How often have leaders in Sacramento claimed that they balanced the budget, when another couple of billion dollars suddenly emerges unaccounted for? To his credit, Brown has instituted cuts, but not enough. Instead of raising taxes, where's the flexibility to school districts and budget reforms which would free up contractual negations between cities and public sector unions. I like that Brown has instituted some cuts, but his budget is not balanced, even using his own assessment: "Governor Brown admits that a "wall of debt" remains. If that is the case, then the budget is not balanced." Pension obligations are still obliged to be paid, yet the Governor wants to increase spending? Where's school choice? Even LAUSD's School Board broached the idea of kids choosing where they enroll. All of this "balanced budgeting" reminds one of the reactionary left.
Matt January 13, 2013 at 04:42 AM
Who does Jerry Brown think he is, fixing the State's economic outlook with a balanced approach. He should have been blocked at every opportunity, so that he couldn't accomplish anything. TIC
Catch A Wave January 13, 2013 at 05:08 AM
"I like that Brown has instituted some cuts, but his budget is not balanced, even using his own assessment" Reactionaries like Arthur won't be happy until the elderly and children have starved to death due to more budget cuts
Catch A Wave January 13, 2013 at 05:10 AM
Looks like the lunatic fringe right is still on the school choice issue. They want to put public money into private schools and the heck with minority kids that's what that really means. These guys never give up even though Ronald Reagan's body is rotting in the ground.

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