We've all seen this before. Children protest state budget cuts to education at the California State Office Building Thursday, March 1, 2012, in San Francisco. A coalition of student and labor groups called ReFund California organized protest actions on about 30 University of California, California State University and community college campuses. The campus rallies are a prelude to a major “Occupy the Capitol” march and rally in Sacramento on Monday.
The anticipation is just about to rumble from Sacramento Ca , Later this month, Gov. Jerry Brown will release what Capitol types call the "May revise," which will update and alter, perhaps sharply, the initial 2012-13 budget he proposed in January. That will touch off several weeks of intense, and mostly secret, negotiations among Brown, Steinberg, other legislative leaders and lobbyists for myriad budget stakeholders, culminating, assuredly, in passage of a budget on or before June 15. ( Ha Ha . Late for sure ) It certainly won't happen before June 5, primary election day. With many legislators running in much-changed districts, sometimes against one another, and with a new top-two primary system in place, nobody – particularly no Democrat – wants to cast budget votes until after primary ballots are counted. However, the bigger complication is the mathematical fact that the state's current and projected revenues are running many billions of dollars behind the state's supposed spending commitments.Brown's January budget assumed that the current budget would close on June 30 with about a $4 billion deficit, plus another $5 billion gap in 2012-13. But since then, revenues have fallen behind, so the two-year deficit will be at least $12 billion and perhaps much higher because revenues are weak and spending is over budget .Brown wants schools to take the big hit if the measure fails – hoping, of course, that looming classroom cuts will motivate voters to pass his plan since education is the most popular government expense . Here's the way the "system" works: The legislature or public (via Proposition) create a new program and fund it will a tax or increased tax (say cigarettes or alcolhol as an example). This works great in the beginning. Then when people cut back on buying cigs or alcoholic beverages due to cost or they just quit, the revenues begin to decline. Because we (the legislature) don't want to cut these "wonderful programs" funding need to be propped up by 1) again increasing the tax on cigs or alcoholic beverages (again an example), or 2) by paying for it out of the general fund, which means that some other programs or budget items get cut.If the first option doesn't happen, then it's option 2. The Dem's will tell the public that they will have to reduce education or highway funding to pay for it knowing that these are hot button items for the voting public who will generally agree to a tax increase over cuts in these items, whether true or not. The solution is quite simple. Each an every program created must have a "sunset provision" at which time it must be approved by the legislature or voting public (based on how the program was created), and must have the funding mechanism identified as part of the approval process.