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Prop 1B and "What's the baseline?"

Original post made by Stacey, Amberwood/Wood Meadows, on May 5, 2009

For those confused by Prop 1B (I know I was), here's the deal.

Prop 98 guarantees that roughly 40% of CA's budget goes to education. Because of CA's economic woes, there's two different interpretations of the Prop 98 law in determining the actual amount that must legally go to education at a minimum. The legislature is saying "here's education's amount this year but we don't want to get sued if someone disagrees with our interpretation of the law so we'll put Prop 1B on the ballot".

The other interpretation results in a higher amount the State must legally give to education than what was actually given.

When we talk about cuts or losses, we have to understand what the cut is being made from. This is called the baseline. Understanding what the baseline is when someone says there's cuts is crucial to identifying if a statement is fact or spin.

Obviously, if education gets 40% of CA's budget and that budget is smaller than it was a year ago because of the economy, and if we say our baseline is what education got from CA last year then I think everyone would agree that there's been a cut to education. That's a fact.

But now what if someone suggests that the baseline is an amount that they think the State must give this year to education based upon their interpretation of Prop 98? They would call any amount less than that a cut. That is spin.

This kind of spin happens often in politics. For example, let's say for the sake of argument that $500 is spent on Medicare annually and future projected costs are $1000. So the baseline is $1000. If someone suggests holding down the rate of increase so that the future cost is $700, that's a "cut" of $300. Another politician suggest holding down the rate so that the future cost is $800. That politician's "cut" is only $200. The first guy will get accused of cutting Medicare even though the future costs are still higher than $500 and everyone will think the first guy is trying to do something bad! That's spin.

So this is what is happening with Prop 1B. Someone says that if Prop 1B doesn't pass, then CA is "cutting" education because the baseline they are using is from a different interpretation of Prop 98 than what the legislature is using. The truth is that there is no cut in relation to Prop 1B. If Prop 1B passes, education gets more money than they expected with the current State budget. If Prop 1B doesn't pass, education gets what they already are stuck with.

If Prop 1A doesn't pass, the legislature must go back to the drawing board and find somewhere else to cut. The only way more factual cuts can happen to education is if the entire amount of the State budget is less and we take 40% of that smaller number.

Seriously, this is why writing to your CA district rep is important. Let them know that you won't tolerate any more cuts to education if the State props don't pass. They need to make the cuts instead in the prison system by reforming CA's parole system for starters.

Comments (9)

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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 5, 2009 at 11:39 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

I should add, if someone interprets Prop 1B differently, I'm open so let me know.

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Posted by Penny
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 6, 2009 at 7:27 am

Stacey says: They need to make the cuts instead in the prison system by reforming CA's parole system for starters.

That's spin too! By reforming the parole system, I assume Stacey means that we should release prisoners early. Perhap we should, perhaps we shouldn't. Perhaps prison guards shouldn't be paid, on average, close to $100k per year, not including other benefits, like medical, etc. I'm sure prison administrators are handsomely rewarded as well.

Perhaps we shouldn't be growing our state government in this time of a serious recession.

Perhaps increasing taxes is not the correct approach to all our ills.

Perhaps we all have to do with less.

Perhaps those that don't like it should consider moving to another state.

Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 6, 2009 at 8:15 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Spin? No, that was pure opinion, not an attempt to state opinion as fact. Nothing to say about Prop 1B?

Like this comment
Posted by Ken in South Pleasanton
a resident of Downtown
on May 7, 2009 at 1:13 pm

President Obama says he is cutting taxes for the middle class and below (jury's still out on that one, but I'll accept it at face value for now). This is good for the economy because it gives an approximate raise of 25 cents per hour to each recipient of a $500 stimulus check ($500 divided by 2000 work hours per year) which each recipient is going to "plow back into the economy" to help our recovery. NOW, come back to California and we are being asked to RAISE OUR TAXES AND THE TAXES OF FUTURE GENERATIONS by voting yes on all these propositions and local parcel taxes. KAPLOWIE goes the stimulus, shot down by state legislators who are too incompetent to manage OUR tax money. It just does not make sense to approve more taxes and more spending when those who are responsible for spending our taxes have no conscience and no control when it comes to the spending. Don't be fooled or intimidated by the deep pockets of those who would have you vote yes...if it was your money (hmmm, it is your money!) you wouldn't be spending more than you take in every week! VOTE NO AS MANY TIMES AS LEGALLY POSSIBLE AND SEND A MESSAGE TO THOSE IN SACRAMENTO AND WASHINGTON, D.C. THAT WE HAVE HAD ENOUGH!

Like this comment
Posted by Sandy
a resident of Mohr Park
on May 7, 2009 at 1:46 pm

Taxes of future generations?

The propositions (if passed) would maintain increases recently made in taxes for 1-2 years.

I'm not defending the propositions, but I think it's important to make decisions based on facts.

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Posted by Ken in South Pleasanton
a resident of Downtown
on May 7, 2009 at 3:28 pm

When was the last time you saw the temporary increase in bridge fares reduced? Why were the sales taxes maintained at 8.75% (in Pleasanton)when things were soooooo good economically speaking? You are kidding yourself if you think that our current batch of legislators (local, state, and federal) will willingly 'give back' what they have taken today to solve a problem they created in the past. I will concede that you are technically right (1-2 years), but do you REALLLY believe that? If you do, you'll probably vote yes. If you are skeptical of these incompetents in Sacramento, you will VOTE NO AS MANY TIMES AS IT IS LEGAL TO DO SO AND SEND THEM A LOUD AND CLEAR MESSAGE THAT WE ARE FED UP WITH ALL OF THIS

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Posted by Robert Paul Perez
a resident of Dublin
on May 7, 2009 at 4:40 pm

Simple!! to sum things up ...The Government got you again "Sheeple". They told you there was a problem with the budget and you needed to pay more or lose services. These people are corrupt incompetent bought and sold crooks. There is no problem with the budget!!!! There is a problem with the people spending and overspending the peoples money. They get the unions to join them and run TV commercials to deceive and distort.......again the people get screwed!! Wake up people.....Just tell them no!!! ......then vote them out!!

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Posted by Cosmic-Charlie
a resident of Downtown
on May 9, 2009 at 5:56 am

Thanks Robert, you are spot on!
Practice DRIP
o e n o
n - c l
t e o i
l m t
e b i
c e t
t n i
t o

Like this comment
Posted by Cosmic-Charlie
a resident of Downtown
on May 9, 2009 at 6:14 am

WYSIWYG formating doesn't work on this posting site. Anyway,


Sounds good, and just about everyone agrees. As the old saying goes..."all politics are local". Most think their local reps. are doing a good's the others that don't measure-up. Pleasanton politicians are you listening?

I am so disgusted with the inability to get good people into office. Our political campaigns and elections are a joke. What do we get to choose really mindless bad dirt bag, or one that just wears a different hat?

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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