After entering office two years ago with a budget deficit of $25 billion dollars, California Governor Jerry Brown announced last week that California’s budget is “fixed.” Brown boasted, “[t]he deficit is gone. For the next four years we are talking about a balanced budget. We are talking about living within our means. This is new. This is a breakthrough.” Brown went so far as to declare budget surpluses starting next year.
The new $97.6 billion dollar budget has been boosted by the passage of last November’s Propositions 30 and 39 which increased sales taxes, closed business tax loopholes and increased income taxes on wealthier individuals. While many are breaking open the champagne to celebrate an additional $5 billion in new revenue, others are reacting cautiously to a budget plan which may not be in the best interest of every Californian.
Brown has refused to restore social service programs like child care, in-home support for the elderly and disabled, and dental and medical care for low income families which were cut during the recession calling them a “wall of debt.” Meanwhile, the court system will receive $200 million dollars less resulting in shuttered courthouses, increased court fees, and fewer services.
While Brown is proposing increasing funding for K-12 education from $54 to $56 billion with more money going towards schools which serve low income and English as a second language students, the State’s higher education system will get less money than they had originally requested. UC and the Cal State systems will each get about $250 million dollars with Brown suggesting that they conduct less reaserch, offer more online courses and graduate students more quickly.
GUEST: Vanessa Aramayo, Director of California Partnership