Gov. Brown's Budget Plan Around Town, posted by Arnold, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jan 6, 2012 at 6:35 am
“Governor Jerry Brown proposed $92.6 billion in spending for the year starting in July, an increase of about 7 percent, which will count on voters approving $7 billion of higher taxes in November.
The spending plan foresees a deficit of $9.2 billion through the next 18 months. Almost half of that is in the current fiscal year, he said. He called for $4.2 billion in cuts, mostly to welfare and programs for the poor. If the tax increase isn’t passed, Brown’s plan would cut another $4.8 billion in support for public schools and community colleges.
“The state of California (STOCA1) is a very generous, compassionate political jurisdiction,” Brown said. “When we have to cut spending, that spending is going to come from programs that are doing a lot of good. It’s not nice. We don’t like it. But the economy and tax statutes of California make just so much money available.”
Brown, a 73-year-old Democrat, wants to raise income taxes on individuals making at least $250,000 a year to 10.3 percent from 9.3 percent, and would boost sales levies to 7.75 percent from 7.25 percent.“
Brown had been scheduled to release his general-fund budget Jan. 10, but was forced to unveil it today after it was inadvertently posted to the Finance Department’s website.
The spending plan assumes the state will sell about $5.2 billion of municipal bonds through December, said Brown’s finance chief, Ana Matosantos.
California is Standard & Poor’s lowest-rated state, at A-,six levels below AAA. Moody’s Investment Service grades it A1, four steps below the top rating, tied with Illinois for the worst credit rating among states.”
Posted by More info, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jan 6, 2012 at 8:32 am
The paper had some interesting information about the state's budget situation. Two take-aways for me were:
- The state's revenue has been basically flat since the start of the recession. How many of you would like to have had the same revenue profile?
- The state represents 12% of the country's population but 30% of welfare recipients. I guess our tax/spend state has become a magnet for those who want something for free. The paper highlights how the state hasn't made the welfare reform moves that other states have.
And yet the only solution seems to be more tax revenue.
Posted by voter, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jan 6, 2012 at 3:32 pm
I just read through some state worker comments on a chat this afternoon in the Sacramento Bee. The general opinion seemed to be that the state workers themselves aren't inclined to vote for tax increases as the cuts haven't gone nearly far enough to eliminate the waste they see every day and very little has been done to make the serious structural changes needed to make departments more effecient.
Several mentioned that there is a cynical hiring surge right now in their departments to get people in before the cuts? Most didn't seem that sympathetic to the cuts in corrections and many felt that oversized pensions of the minority needed to be capped or dealt with in some way . . .
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Jan 6, 2012 at 3:50 pm
Concerned, Education is the lamb brought to slaughter exactly so a tax will pass. If the governor said, "I'll cut what we spend on prisoners if the tax doesn't pass," I suspect few would care.
The LAO site lists $47,000ish is spent per prisoner (four times more than per student spending). Web Link
Per pupil spending (LAO) for 2008-09 was $11,600ish: Web Link It's not the same in every district and there has likely been further erosion since then.
Admittedly, this isn't as simple as taking from the prison system, but you have to wonder about priorities (true in most states I think) where someone who has committed a crime gets better attention than students. And I believe investing in education could cut the need for prisons. But, to go full circle, many K-12 districts aren't transparent enough about where the money goes and aren't always spending it in the best interests of the classroom.
Posted by Arnold, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jan 6, 2012 at 4:32 pm
"Concerned, Education is the lamb brought to slaughter exactly so a tax will pass. If the governor said, "I'll cut what we spend on prisoners if the tax doesn't pass," I suspect few would care."
Excellent comment, Kathleen. Prison system costs have increased dramatically over the past decade, starting with the deal Gray Davis gave the Guards to garner support during his recall. Another way to look at it is that a significant portion of that California Prison System cost are labor costs. The first time I looked at these numbers I couldn’t believe it, and I still can’t. There is little doubt why CA prison costs are double the cost of the next most expensive state. This link provides only salary and medical costs. The pension costs probably add an additional 24-32 percent depending on the job classification: Web Link & Rehabilitation, Department of (CDCR) &Positions=&GetCsu=False&ItemCount=66
We have plenty of issues to address but this is certianly one of them.
Posted by Arnold, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jan 6, 2012 at 5:00 pm
The link didn't show as intended. Click on the above link. Click on the heading that reads, "Total Wages Subject to Medicare". That will switch the compensation list from lowest to highest paid employee. The first compensation number you should see is $777,423 plus 31K in medical benefits. This number doesn’t include pension costs or many other employee related costs. As you scroll down the list it may become apparent to you why the CA Prison system is so costly.
Posted by From the Tim Hunt article and more, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Jan 6, 2012 at 6:54 pm
"Alameda County elected officials and transportation advocates have been negotiating the projects to be included when they ask voters to extend the county’s half-cent sales tax surcharge for a third time...
The first half-cent sales tax measure, passed with a two-thirds vote in 1986, provided critical funding to get BART extended to Dublin/Pleasanton.
The county transportation authority brought a second measure back before voters and got it reauthorized it before its scheduled expiration in 2001. Now advocates are planning to double the tax to 1-cent and make it permanent. That’s terrible precedent, both the doubling and making the tax permanent.”
Thanks Tim for bringing this to our attention. By one-cent I think you mean a doubling of the current ½ percent temporary tax to a 1 percent tax that is permanent. I guess this is in addition to the additional ½ percent sales tax Jerry Brown is now proposing, in addition to the additional 1% tax on people earning over 250K. I think the Governor’s plan is to sell 5 billion in bonds to provide the funding that will be paid back with the additional tax.
I’m not sure where the funding will come from to cover the 99-119 Billion in bonds to cover the High Speed Rail that was projected to cost 33 Billion when we voted on it but….I heard someone has proposed a 1 cent per ounce tax on Sodas to help fight obesity … about a buck per six pack of Pepsi or Coke. Sounds like a ton of money that will be spent wherever they see fit. Maybe that will help.
I think the additional revenue our governor is proposing in the form of increased sales tax should cover about 60% of the increased pension costs that are being placed on the backs of the tax payers. I’m surprised the Governor isn’t asking for more. Maybe he’ll come for the rest in 2013.
Posted by AnnaS, a member of the Foothill High School community, on Jan 9, 2012 at 9:05 am
The government doesn't have enough money to education, but it has money to pay state tuitions for illegals. The government doesn't have enough money to pay for good teaches, but it has money to pay for unnecessary administrative jobs and teaches who cannot teach but have seniority in teachers' unions. The government doesn't have money to teach students English and math, but they have money to rewrite history books. Businesses and educated youth is running away from California, but government wants more taxes, so more businesses will have to leave to stay competitive.
Yes, Concerned, you are right - all we think is about money: we need money to feed our children, to take care about their health, to educate them and to create enough jobs so they will be able to make their living without relying on government's leftovers.
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Jan 9, 2012 at 9:41 am
If cutting three weeks of class is how the legislature continues to make ends meet, we may as well cut K-12 costs from the state budget altogether, and all the tax dollars we send to Sacramento for public education, thereby saving ourselves this annual (and often semi-annual) heartburn. Then we can go back to local communities controlling the education of its own children.
I know there are plenty of arguments against a community tax based education: what about communities with smaller tax bases, how will bargaining work with local unions, how will curriculum be determined, how will a local tax rate be determined, who will control the budget, what would a school year look like . . . and I’m sure many other issues that would need to be resolved.
I don’t actually believe we will ever be able to disconnect education from the state. But we do have an opportunity now to address Governor Brown’s plan, and all government in general. We can tell Sacramento no more committing us to new spending when times are flush (how about any excess going into savings for the upcoming thin times, and times always ebb and flow); no more surprise and subsequent raising taxes to cover previous wild spending when times aren’t flush (last in, first out?—looks like that’s the proposal for the new transitional kindergarten which is already facing the chopping block); and no more holding children hostage.
We could start with our school board elections. Let’s support people who won’t spend money on untimely pursuits ($250K facilities study) when they know they are facing major cuts; who clearly understand they are responsible to the voters, not staff; and who will insist that staff provide complete transparency on where taxpayer dollars are being spent (bond refinancing). Then it’s just a matter of following suit along the greenback road to Sacramento for city, county, and state representation.
Posted by GX, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jan 9, 2012 at 12:05 pm
What the proposal does about the cost of our prisons is timid and almost laughable. If Brown got his way on everything he asked for, we'd still have one of the highest per capita incarceration costs in the the country. He is doing just enough to say he is doing something without upsetting the prison guard union.
Rather than call names and assume, might I suggest you educate yourself and do some comparision of key cost elements with that of other states?
Then maybe you'd become a voice for where the cuts really do need to happen so that we can maintain the investment in our future (education, infrastructure, etc.).
Posted by Lotta Booty, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jan 10, 2012 at 8:47 am
When Moonbeam was campaigning for office he blasted "smoke and mirror budgets". Now that this loon is in office he keeps offering up "smoke and mirror budgets". To make matters worse, he can't even get along with his fellow loons in the Legislature. Isn't it time to run these loons out of Sacto?
Posted by artlover, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Jan 10, 2012 at 8:55 am
I applaud this string of comments on TRYING to stick to documenteded facts. Harlan- keep your immature comments to yourself. We are trying to be adults here and really learn something. So many times, these threads go to hell, with mud slinging, so I'm enjoying more fact driven comments.
Our state does have a long way to go to stopping fraud, increasing inefficiency and all. One transportation employee told me they have stacks and stacks of BART tickets in a safe because they can't give them away to released prisoners, to look for jobs, fast enough. They have so many tickets just sitting there, because if they don't buy them, their budget will be slashed. This is an inherant problem with the way government runs that is insustainale. I do not have a web link to this info. , I'm sorry, just what this employee told me.
This state will only get worse and worse by raising taxes without cost containment. The City of Pleasanton has done a good job of saving money in flush times. CA should learn from them. So many people can not afford to live here already. Will your children be able to afford Pleasanton? Thank about that.
Posted by DB, a resident of the Pleasanton Heights neighborhood, on Jan 10, 2012 at 3:03 pm
Brown's threat of cutting education & emergency services is a typical tactic to hit us where it hurts so that we will approve the tax increase. We should not buckle to such bullying, and this unsavory scare tactic should be grounds for recall.
Posted by Harlen, a resident of the California Somerset neighborhood, on Jan 10, 2012 at 5:16 pm
For three solid days all the bimbos talked about how the budget didn't cut into prisons. Then I pointed out that it did, and now the bimbos are castigating me for having called them bimbos. Go figure.
But by all means, let's all pretend we're ron paul economists and criticize any tax that isn't in the constitution. You're living as a political minority and you'll die in this state as a political minority. Birdbrains one and all.
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Jan 10, 2012 at 5:36 pm
The conversation about prisons has to do with the cost of incarcerating someone in California, let alone how many people we incarcerate. If we spent the prison budget on kids and the education budget on prisoners, at least the amount of money spent would be pointed in the right directions.
I'd rather pay teachers more and guards less (or have fewer guards). It would be a longer, unpleasant (for prisoners anyway) discussion about how to make that workable. I don't think that discussion has legs though.
Posted by Arnold, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jan 10, 2012 at 6:20 pm
Kathleen, I'm not sure prison costs as a function of education dollars accurately represents a true picture of how California prison costs rank compared to the national average. Actually it doesn't - we pay so much more than everyone else. You make the comparison of education dollars to prison costs so I thought I would share an interactive website with you that compare prison/education costs vs. other states.
The California numbers regarding prisons costs are probably understated at this point because they use 2007 numbers. Since then the CA prisons costs have grown significantly faster then the national average, as have most CA government employee costs.
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of the Vintage Hills Elementary School neighborhood, on Jan 10, 2012 at 8:27 pm
Thanks Arnold; interesting site. A surprise that Oregon spends $1.06 on prisons for every dollar spent on higher education (California is $.83). I wasn't clear enough that I was talking about spending $47,000 per year per K-12 student (which is the current per prisoner expense in California) and $11,000 per year per prisoner instead (which is the current average cost per student cost for K-12 education). I should take time to see why some states are spending so much less . . . what don't they provide that we do.
Posted by GX, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jan 10, 2012 at 8:32 pm
And more ...
"Why Is California Broke?
Inquiring minds are asking "Why Is California Broke?" It's a good question.
Please consider ...
California has the 3rd highest state income tax in the nation: 9.55% tax bracket at $47,055 and 10.55% at $1,000,000 - Tax Foundation 2010 State Business Tax Climate Table 2 California has the highest state sales tax rate in the nation by far at 8.25%. Indiana is next highest at 7%. Table 15 California corporate income tax rate is 3rd worst in the nation with a rate of 8.84%. - Table 2 and Table 8 California ranks 13th in property taxes. Table 2
California has the fourth highest capital gains tax 9.55%. - Capital Gains Tax Rates By State California has the highest gasoline tax as of January 2010, averaging 65 cents/gallon. The national average is 47.4% - API Motor Fuel Taxes California has one of the highest state vehicle license car taxes, 1.15% per year on value of vehicle, up from 0.65% in 2008. [expired link]
So where's the money going?
1 in 5 in LA County receiving public aid, nearly 2.2 million people as of February 2009. 20% in Los Angeles County receive public aid California has 12% of the nation's population, but 36% of the country's TANF ("Temporary" Assistance for Needy Families) welfare recipients - more than the next 8 states combined. Unlike other states, this "temporary" assistance becomes much more permanent in CA. July, 2009 California has more recipients in key welfare category than next eight states combined.
California prison guards highest paid in the nation. The maximum pay of California's prison guards is nearly 40 percent higher than that of the highest-paid guards in 10 other states and the federal government, according to a study by the California Department of Personnel Administration."
... there is plenty of information out there if one has the intellectual honesty to look.