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Schwarzenegger: This year's budget gap may hit $7 billion

Original post made by It's happening again, Another Pleasanton neighborhood, on Nov 10, 2009

More state cuts to education and PUSD on the way I'm afraid.

"Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger estimated Monday that California's budget will fall out of balance by $5 billion to $7 billion this fiscal year, on top of a $7.4 billion gap already projected for 2010-11. If true, state leaders would confront at least a $12.4 billion to $14.4 billion problem when Schwarzenegger releases his budget in January."

"He emphasized deep spending cuts as a budget solution but did not mention tax increases."

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Comments (41)

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Posted by Pepper
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 11, 2009 at 8:12 am

There will be deep cuts and we are in a deep box, we cannot raise taxes because they are already the highest in nation and all the people with money will continue to leave. We need to file for bankrupcy and quickly to get out of these union contracts we have signed.


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Posted by resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 11, 2009 at 9:02 am

Agreed


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Posted by another resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 11, 2009 at 9:30 am

1) A state cannot declare bankruptcy. It's federal law.

2) Which union contracts? State level? Local level? Police? Firefighters? Teachers? Prison Guards? All public employees? They're all very different contracts. Broad statements like that concern me.

And while we're union busting, a quick process I'm sure, more big cuts are quickly coming to Pleasanton schools.


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Posted by PleasantonParent
a resident of West of Foothill
on Nov 11, 2009 at 9:38 am

Sad to think there could be MORE cuts to the schools in PUSD! Everyone is already suffering from the cuts they decided to make before the new school year. WHAT ELSE can they cut?! A sad situation only getting sadder...


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Posted by jimf01
a resident of another community
on Nov 11, 2009 at 9:43 am

Don't distort the situation by calling it union busting, when you know full well there will be no actual union busting in our Democrat controlled CA Legislature.

What is needed is to keep spending in line with inflation and population growth. If that had been done starting a few years back, we would have a surplus in CA instead of a deficit, that is a fact.

It is simple fiscal responsibility. This years budget may be a lost cause, the cuts will be painful. Note in the SacBee story that tax receipts are running a billion+ behind projections. The Legislature will not even take a realistic look and admit to themselves we are in a recession. The people of California are the only thing that can put the state back on the right track.

VOTE THEM ALL OUT

The legislators, from Governor Ahhhnuld on down, Republicrat and Demican, who got us into this situation. Vote for fiscal responsibility.


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Posted by Beth
a resident of Del Prado
on Nov 11, 2009 at 10:30 am

As they say all ships must rise and fall with the tides. This is lesson that our government and public service providers have only half way accepted (pun intended).


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Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Nov 11, 2009 at 10:38 am

Well repubs...as I recall, this tax stuff has happened on a repub governors watch...lest you forget. Is it time for another TEA PARTY on the steps of the State Capital in SAC?

hmmmmmmmmmm...


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Posted by jimf01
a resident of another community
on Nov 11, 2009 at 11:13 am

sorry Cho, complete fallacy, our "repub gov" has been powerless to implement any reforms, for one thing.
Out of control spending started back with Davis, remember him? Yeah, the guy we recalled. Does anyone even remember why that recall got rolling?
A Republican named Tom McClintock ran for Governor and lost to Aahhnulld, he warned of the coming budget implosion but was ignored. The Republicrat governator tried some budget reform at the ballot box, that failed. He tried hard negotiating with Dems in Sacramento, nothing has happened. Remember "blowing up boxes"?
The Democrats have controlled the legislature for as long as I can remember, that is where it all happens in CA.


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Posted by little m
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 11, 2009 at 11:31 am

What irritates me is that each year the government entangles itself in a budget crisis as if they had never been there ... it's deja vous all over again. It's time to bite the bullet on government workers and government expenses ... I'm having trouble seeing what the problem is in finding the solution to a fixed budget crisis ... Cut! Cut! Cut! It's the only way. Yes, working for the government is a gravy job ... but enough already.


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Posted by jimf01
a resident of another community
on Nov 11, 2009 at 12:06 pm

ah little m, its that word you added in there, "fixed" before budget. Certain folks in the legislature never see the amount of money available as "fixed", there is always a way to enhance revenue streams, i.e. RAISE YOUR TAXES.


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Posted by Pepper
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 11, 2009 at 12:21 pm

Yes we can file for bankrupcy and I know for a fact it is under consideration. All of these 3 point retirements are enough to bankrupt us regardless. Don't forget the free state funded healthcare for illegals and also the 268 million annually for tuition for them as well. The way this state is run is a joke and the joke is on us. Judgement day is on us here in California and coming right after us will be the United States.....anybody looking at the value of our currency lately?


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Posted by little m
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 11, 2009 at 12:45 pm

jimf01 ...excellent observation!!! Now if I may as a question: is it better to just get acclimated to the tax-increase loophole ... OR should we drill the idea of "fixed" into the mind of minolta (that is our legislators)??? It's getting tough to foot the bill so the government mentality doesn't have to ground itself in reality!!!


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 11, 2009 at 12:53 pm

They need to trim expenses at the government level: get rid of some agencies (County of Education for instance), reform the pay for unions (what Davis passed should be undone), etc.


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Posted by Another Gatetree Resident
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Nov 11, 2009 at 1:23 pm

The bottom line is this -- we base our state spending on assumptions about revenues we'll have in the future. As we know, those assumptions are often wrong; but by then, we've already committed the spending. We need to gradually move to a different system: one whereby we store up one year's revenue and spend no more in any one year than the taxes actually received the previous year. For what it's worth -- this concept was proposed to the Legislature by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2005, but neither house even took a vote on it. Go figure.


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Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Nov 11, 2009 at 5:33 pm

It has gotten worse on this repubs watch. He wasted millions and millions on his referendums...i didn't vote for that strange looking neanderthal...you did!


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Posted by Screwed
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 11, 2009 at 8:23 pm

This whole thing is a mess. I don't really care who calls themselves "republican" or "democrat" - none of them in Sacramento have been doing $%#@. You just can't keep spending money. Programs are going to get cut - they MUST get cut. People are going to suffer. There are no two ways about it. I will probably one who suffers, but we just can't keep doing what we are doing. WHY DON'T THE POLITICIANS SEE THIS???? Oh sure, raise the tax, on "sins" maybe that will get us through next year, then it will all be better. Why doesn't the state of California just go to Vegas (or a local Indian casino) and put the budget on red or black. WE could double our money in a hurry.

I guess I've really given up hope that I once had.


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Posted by Jerry
a resident of Oak Hill
on Nov 12, 2009 at 3:36 am

Didn't all this mess start with the Dot.Comm heydays. Money flowed in like water and entitlement programs were established that can't be eliminated without endangering a politician's chances of being re-elected. Then we have all the costly initatives that we voters passed without thoughts of how to fund them...

Along comes the Dot.Comm "bubble burst" and the related state funds disappear. Seems to me we, the electorate, have to share some of the blame, since we continue to approve many of the initatives we have no idea how to fund...

A portion of Contra Costa County had a chance to send "fresh blood" to the federal level but chose to send a career politician to Washington to continue down the same old road...

Why do we continue to make the same mistakes over and over, expecting/hoping for a different result each time...


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Posted by Another Gatetree Resident
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Nov 12, 2009 at 8:59 am

Again, it boils down to basing our state spending on assumptions about revenues we'll have in the future. Time and time again those assumptions have been proven wrong; but by then, we've already committed the spending. Until we decide to spend no more in any one year than the taxes actually received the previous year, nothing will change.

Perhaps those who voted down the latest fund our schools measure are the only ones who really understand that.


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Posted by Qwerty
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 12, 2009 at 9:13 am


Hi Jerry,

This is exactly the point I've made in other posts on this forum - namely that the state got drunk on the tax revenue from the dot coms but didn't curtail spending when that revenue stream disappeared. Now we are paying the price!


Qwerty


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Posted by reasonable
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 12, 2009 at 9:40 am

Seems like we need to work on both ends of this problem:

1) freeze union pay. These contracts all have automatic raises built in for inflation but we DO NOT have inflation right now!! The PUSD budget gap could have been solved this year JUST by freezing teacher pay at current rates. Not pay CUTS, freezes. There is a world of difference. The unions need to face reality. No one else is getting raises either.

2) Get rid of Prop 13. Stop using the young and/or mobile to subsidize the old and/or people who never move. We can freeze property taxes when homeowners reach 65, so no one gets taxed out of their home because of fixed income. Right now we have people paying $10,000 or $500 for the same home, depending on when they bought it. How is that fair? And then there is not enough money for schools. AARP will scream but I will vote for anyone, Dem or Republican, with the guts to take this on.


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Posted by Another Gatetree Resident
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Nov 12, 2009 at 10:35 am

Reasonable -- Please help me to understand why those who choose to buy a home and stay in it should be penalized for NOT moving? I lived in my homes in Pleasanton as follows: First place -- Townhouse -- 24 months. 2nd Place -- first single family home -- 7 years. My next purchase was on Gatetree 11+ years ago. Did my taxes increase on Gatetree? Yes, but not at the rate they would have if I was "mobile." Why should someone who likes their neighborhood be penalized for staying put?

IMHO, those who move do so of their own choice. They should pay the going rate that goes along with wanting to have a larger, or as is often the case in Pleasanton, a more "HEY LOOK AT WHAT I GOT" kind of home.

Prop 13 isn't the root of the problem. It's the "All About Me" attitude that is so predominant in California as a whole. No wonder 2/3rds of the nation hates us.


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Posted by reasonable
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 12, 2009 at 11:26 am

Undoing Prop 13 would not penalize anyone for staying put; those that move pay plenty for realtors, moving costs and over the past decades, vastly increased home prices. However, mobile or sedentary, we all use schools, police, fire, roads, etc. and that is what property taxes pay for. A mobile person doesn't use these more than someone who's been there 20 years. A small differential or a reasonable cap on increases would be fair (and freezing the rate at age 65), but the current differential is way too large, and doesn't allow our communities a sufficient tax base. Other states don't have this hanging over their heads.

As for what motivates movers, I could give you many reasons other than outdoing the Jones' (moving closer to a new job, divorce, even downsizing would increase most people's tax costs if they're under 65) but you seem to have your mind made up on that one.


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Posted by rs
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Nov 12, 2009 at 11:34 am

Its time to CUT THE BIG WIGS, THE SENATOR AND ASSEMBLEMAN LETS START WITH CUTTING THEIR WAGES, AND THEN WORK DOWN TO THESE AWFUL COMMITTEES WHO GET THE BIG BUCKS INCULDING THE COLLEGES, NOT OUR LOCAL SCHOOLS. WHY DO PROFESSORS GET PAID TIME OFF, WHY HAS THE TUITION IN COLLEGES GONE UP MORE THEN THE ECONOMY? THEIR OUR SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS IN THIS STATE THAT CAN DIRECT WHO GETS CUT. HITTING PROP 13 IS THE WORST CHOICE. WE HOPED TO STOP GOVERNMENT FROM GROWING WITH THAT VOTE, THE CITIZENS OF CALIFORNIA OUR TIRED OF THE DEMOCRATIC RULE THAT HAS RUN THIS STATE INTO THE GROUND,.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 12, 2009 at 11:44 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Reasonable wrote: "Right now we have people paying $10,000 or $500 for the same home, depending on when they bought it. How is that fair?"

And how would it be fair for people who purchased their home years earlier to pay more (and not get increased service in return) just because someone decided to purchase the home next door for loads of cash over the asking price? If you want this to be reasonable, it has to be fair for everyone, not just the new homeowners.

Reasonable also wrote: "However, mobile or sedentary, we all use schools, police, fire, roads, etc. and that is what property taxes pay for."

Here's the part missing from your statement. The spending on these expenses are supposed to be capped. If the revenue stream is capped, the spending stream needs to also be capped in the same way. These two steams need to be aligned. They're not really. The Gann Limit, which passed alongside Prop. 13, has been weakened over the years by later propositions. Go, direct democracy, go!

Another reasonable proposal: if Prop. 13 is reformed, the State's heavy reliance on income tax and sales tax must also be reformed. It would not be fair to property owners if they get hit suddenly with big increases in property tax. Maybe you pay $10,000 a year on your property. How much do you think you'll be paying by removing Prop. 13? Is the satisfaction derived from knowing that your neighbors pay the same amount really worth the hit to your own wallet?


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 12, 2009 at 11:53 am

Stacey is a registered user.

I wanted to add, Another Gatetree Resident is right on the mark. The State overestimates revenue and then commits to the spending. This is compounded by the State's reliance on high income earners. The revenue figures swing wildly year after year. There's a chart somewhere online...


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 12, 2009 at 12:03 pm

To Stacey,

"And how would it be fair for people who purchased their home years earlier to pay more (and not get increased service in return) just because someone decided to purchase the home next door for loads of cash over the asking price? If you want this to be reasonable, it has to be fair for everyone, not just the new homeowners."

You are aware that even under Prop 13, property taxes can and do go up every year. Do you want to reform Prop 13 to lock in a tax rate at the rate purchased? You also understand that inflation reduces the spending power of dollars at a faster rate than taxes can increase under prop 13? So property owners actually end up paying LESS on property taxes (adjusted for inflation) than when they bought their home.

We don't pay enough in taxes here in California to support the services we want. We need to go back to electing representatives who truly represent us, an get rid of all these ballot initiatives.


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Posted by reasonable
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 12, 2009 at 12:30 pm

To Stacey -

We can cap spending to match your Prop 13 taxes, but then let's just close the schools. We already pay less per child (inflation-adjusted) than 30 years ago and less than other states. This IS because of Prop 13. Guess what? The cost of living in this state has gone up! So if we freeze property taxes at 1975 levels should teacher salaries, police also be frozen at 1975 salaries? Good luck with that.

As for the "satisfaction" of knowing my neighbors are paying equal property taxes (as they do in other states), let's turn that right around: Don't you have the "satisfaction" of knowing you are paying a much, much smaller mortgage than those new neighbors of yours? Isn't that enough??

The "new people" who supposedly deserve to pay 10x more ... who are they exactly? They are not some smarmy carpetbaggers out to get you. They are young people buying their first home...Growing families moving up to a home with a family room or pool....People with a new job who'd rather move than spend 2 hours/day commuting... Got it?


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Posted by Another Gatetree Resident
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Nov 12, 2009 at 12:45 pm

Reasonable -- If "undoing Prop 13 would not penalize anyone for staying put," then please explain why everyone makes this the scapegoat?

Agreed, mobile or sedentary, we all use schools, police, fire, roads, etc. and property taxes aid in funding those services. So what you are actually wanting is the most significant portion of the act Section 1. -- (a) The maximum amount of any ad valorem tax on real property shall not exceed One percent (1%) of the full cash value of such property. The one percent (1%) tax to be collected by the counties and apportioned according to law to the districts within the counties -- eliminated. So today, "a small differential or a reasonable cap on increases" is all ready applied. What are you proposing that would be different? Something greater than 1%?

In addition, are you aware that 1978's Proposition 8 allows one to have their assessed property value reduced if the market value of the property declines below its assessed value, for example, during a real estate slump? I have to tell you I took advantage of this when I purchased my first single family home and then watched values fall. So, do you propose stripping this proposition away also? Those that paid high should just eat their poor purchase decision until things turn around?

Yes, other states don't have Prop 13 "hanging over their heads," but I would also venture to say other states don't feel entitled to live lavish lifestyles like most in California feel is the norm. WE own a large part of the problem, national perception, and only WE can change that. Instead, we choose to pass blame and sit back and whine about things we view to be "unfair."

Stacey -- THANK GOD SOMEONE GETS IT!!!!


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Posted by Another Gatetree Resident
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Nov 12, 2009 at 12:48 pm

Reasonable -- FYI -- other States do have similar things "hanging over their heads."

Examples:

Proposition 2, the Massachusetts version of Proposition 13, passed in 1980.
Oregon Ballot Measure 5 of 1990 -- property tax cap in Oregon.


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Posted by Another Gatetree Resident
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Nov 12, 2009 at 12:54 pm

Reasonable -- In Stacey's defense -- the "new people" who "pay 10x more" and are "growing families moving up to a home with a family room or pool....People with a new job who'd rather move than spend 2 hours/day commuting" all made choices. PERSONAL CHOICES. Those were apparently choices they felt were worth a higher tax structure.

Those staying put make similar choices.


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Posted by a reader
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 12, 2009 at 1:10 pm

"the "new people" who "pay 10x more" and are "growing families moving up to a home with a family room or pool....People with a new job who'd rather move than spend 2 hours/day commuting" all made choices. PERSONAL CHOICES. Those were apparently choices they felt were worth a higher tax structure.

Those staying put make similar choices."

None of that means Prop 13 isn't a disaster. It is time to scrap it. Yes on 1978's Prop 8, no on Prop 13.


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Posted by reasonable
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 12, 2009 at 1:12 pm

As I suspected this is the ultimate sacred cow. Those who got theirs want to throw the book at everyone else. The ultimate NIMBYism.

I suspect Gatetree does not spend anywhere near 1% of his/her home's value on property taxes.....

I will vote for anyone who takes this on.


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Posted by Another Gatetree Resident
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Nov 12, 2009 at 1:44 pm

Reader and Reasonable -- Prop 13 is not a sacred cow for me. DO NOT put words out there that I did NOT type. However, I did watch my parents concern raise every year their taxes went up by HUGE amounts. They wondered how long it would be before they were priced out of the home they were the original owners of and had hoped to spend their retirement years in. I felt their pain.

If someone has a better idea, present it. However, it really does start with NOT basing our state spending on assumptions about revenues we'll have in the future. Until we decide to spend no more in any one year than the taxes received the previous year can support, nothing will ever change.

Pull Prop 13 back, but don't do it at the costs of retirees and people who love their homes and want to stay in them.


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Posted by reasonable
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 12, 2009 at 2:08 pm

Sorry for my frustration.

Please look at my original post. I agree with your point on retirees and said taxes should be "frozen" at age 65 to protect those on fixed incomes.

I just don't think they should be virtually frozen at rates 20-30 years ago. Allowing property taxes to generally follow the market would allow us to better meet school funding needs.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 12, 2009 at 2:49 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Reader wrote: "You also understand that inflation reduces the spending power of dollars at a faster rate than taxes can increase under prop 13?"

I won't argue that that is not a problem with Prop. 13. I did write that both the revenue and spending sides need to align. The Gann Limit is supposed to increase the spending cap based upon population increase and inflation (and also decrease during deflation!). The revenue side would have to match. But look at the numbers. Spending has outstripped inflation and population growth under the past three governors. Even if property taxes grew in relation to inflation, it still wouldn't have been enough.

Web Link

"A good rule of thumb in government budgeting is that the rate of spending increases should not exceed the rate of population growth plus inflation. For the period under examination here, the state's population increased at an annual rate of 1.38 percent,9 and the California Consumer Price Index rose an average of 2.99 percent a year.10 The combined total of 4.3811 percent a year is easily outpaced by the 5.37 percent average annual increase in General Fund spending.
California's last three governors have not fared so well by this metric. Gov. Pete Wilson managed best, holding average annual spending increases to 4.88 percent, compared to population plus inflation growth of an average of 3.72 percent a year.
Under Gov. Gray Davis, spending rose an average of 6.73 percent a year versus population plus inflation growth of 4.83 percent.
Spending has grown slightly higher under Gov. Schwarzenegger—even considering that spending in the current fiscal year was basically held flat—increasing 6.75 percent a year, compared with population plus inflation growth of 4.98 percent a year.

...
In FY 1990-91, the state took in over $38 billion in General Fund revenues. In FY 2008-09 revenues are $102 billion. Based on these revenues, if California had simply limited its spending increases to the 4.38 percent average increase in the state's consumer price index and population growth each year since FY 1990-91, instead of a $42 billion deficit, the state would be sitting on a $15 billion surplus this year."


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Posted by Bea
a resident of Civic Square
on Nov 12, 2009 at 2:53 pm

This legislature & public unions are the problem, not prop 13. The legislature has PLENTY of money (OPM). They make stupid choices. Ca legislature has been DEM majority controlled for 30 + years (except for 2). Yes, freeze them all...we have deflation, NOT inflation right now...runs around - .o?. Which is the silly part of Obama BUYING some senior votes by sending each senior $250. newly borrowed from China. Soc Sec calls for C O L...better know as Cost of Living increase...duh! there was NONE for the year. But soon China will be the economic leader, then we become a 2nd world debtor, and they'll have no choice but to let our debt ride. Just the INTEREST on our daily debt that the greedy public unions, and our stupid & greedy legislators, and stupid public that want more even today, will soon be IMPOSSIBLE to pay off. A panel of experts on C-Span TUE explained it will take everything this economy can produce, JUST to pay the INTEREST within 10 years. None so blind as those we refuse to see.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 12, 2009 at 3:01 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Reasonable wrote: "Allowing property taxes to generally follow the market would allow us to better meet school funding needs."

Doubtful. There's no real magic bullet here. Fixing the Prop. 13 side doesn't address the other causes. If State spending continues to outpace growth in inflation and population, no amount of revenue increases can stem that tide.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 12, 2009 at 3:11 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Web Link

"In fact, education spending—for both K-12 and higher education—has
seen a steady and significant increase, especially in recent years. From FY 1990-91 to FY 2008-09, General Fund K-12 education spending increased 191.5 percent (6.11 percent a year on average)—a greater rate than the overall General Fund budget grew."


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 12, 2009 at 3:15 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

A stable revenue stream is one that is predictable. Revenue that rises and drops with a market is not predictable. Even if properties were assessed at market rates, this housing market crash would still have meant a fallout of revenue and California would still be in the same mess.

Prop. 13 makes the spending stream predictable for property owners.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 12, 2009 at 3:17 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Or I like Another Gatetree Resident's idea of two-year budgeting cycles where only actual revenue collected in a previous year is spent.


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Posted by Another Gatetree Resident
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Nov 12, 2009 at 3:59 pm

Reasonable -- I acknowledge your original post and suggestion. However, if taxes should be "frozen" at age 65 to protect those on fixed incomes (which I do not disagree with), then how would you suggest we allow property taxes to generally follow the market for these types of individuals?

As for providing for school funding needs -- again, perhaps our state officials should base school funding on revenues we HAVE rather than those we MIGHT HAVE in the future.


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