Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Reckoning.

From a Los Angeles Times story on Governor-elect Jerry Brown's budget plans for 2011:

In the past, state leaders relied on one-time gimmicks, some of which made the state's deficit worse, and one-time cash infusions to patch over flawed spending plans. Those days are over, Brown said.

"The day of reckoning is upon us and I'm determined to bite the bullet, get it done in whatever way the consensus of California can be built," he said. "Fair, transparent and enduring — that's my goal."

Educators responded by calling for an end to cuts, asking for greater discretion at the local level as to how dwindling dollars are spent, urging the state to seek more federal funding and requesting legislation that would allow them to increase local property taxes with 55% of the vote rather than the current requirement of two-thirds.

"We can't take any more cuts. You really need to look elsewhere," said Bernie Rhinerson, the chief district relations officer at the San Diego Unified School District. "We are at the cliff."

State Treasurer Bill Lockyer grew visibly frustrated by some of the comments about increasing funding of programs, such as online education.

"Anyone who thinks we get by that without everyone getting hit probably should live in Mendocino County," he said, referring to the region known for marijuana growing. "There are going to be cuts."

"So far, I've heard good ideas about how to spend more money. Great. It ain't there. It's time to make cuts, I believe deep cuts," Lockyer said. "I'd do the 25% across the board and just say those who wanted less government, you're going to get your wish. In other communities that are willing to put something on the ballot to make up that difference, they're going to have a higher service level."