Subject: State Budget - Urgent Message
From: Pam Brady, President, California State PTA
Thursday, 24 July, 2008
Word is out in Sacramento that there may be a vote on the state budget next Tuesday, July 29th.
As you know, legislative leaders and the governor have been meeting to try to work out a budget solution. A legislative conference committee (made up of Assembly and Senate representatives) released a budget proposal recently. This proposal takes a more balanced approach and includes significant new revenues to help prevent against any deeper cuts to education and children’s services. At the state Education Coalition meeting Tuesday, it was determined that, given the current economic and political climate, this conference committee budget represents the best proposal on the table for new revenues to prevent even deeper cuts to education and some other social services. The conference committee bill is a better budget solution than was proposed by the governor in January or at the May Revise. We will, of course, be watching carefully to make sure that the revenue components are included in the "trailer bills" as part of any budget deal.
We must urge all of our members, fellow parents and colleagues in the education community to contact their state legislators right away with this message:
Support the Legislative Conference Committee Budget to Avoid Deeper Cuts to Education and Other Children’s Services. The final adopted package must include revenue enhancements.
Attached is a set of updated key messages from the Coalition related to the latest budget proposal. We are also providing a link to the California Budget Project’s side-by-side comparison of the governor’s and legislative budget plans, as well as a summary of the conference committee proposal as prepared by our Legislation Team for the Sacramento Update.
California Budget Project: http://www.cbp.org/
CONFERENCE COMMITTEE FINISHES WORK ON 2008-09 STATE BUDGET
(from the California State PTA Sacramento Update)
July 12 — Tuesday night the Budget Conference Committee finished reconciling differences between versions of the 2008-09 state fiscal plan drafted by the Assembly and Senate. The plan, adopted along party lines on a 4-2 vote, rejects deep cuts in education and health care and includes $9.7 billion in new revenue, which is $1.8 billion lower than what the Senate recommended and $2.7 billion more in new revenue than what the Governor proposed. A counter proposal to close the budget gap will be offered by the Republican members of the Legislature.
The Conference Committee budget is a balanced approach. It closes tax loopholes and rolls back tax breaks for corporations and the wealthiest Californians and restores money to education, health care and public safety.
On the expenditure side, the committee’s plan:
- Provides $2.3 billion more for K-12 education than proposed by the Governor.
- Restores $1.5 billion in cuts to health and human services. This includes restoring nearly $200 million in health care services to some of the state’s most vulnerable residents, the reimbursement rate for Medi-Cal providers and federal pass-through funds for the aged, blind and disabled.
- Reduces corrections spending by $300 million with a reform package that helps lower the prison population.
- Restores drastic cuts to home care services.
- Restores funds for at-risk kids.
- Restores $57 million in financial assistance for college students.
On the revenue side, the committee’s plan:
- Reinstates the tax brackets on the wealthiest Californians by reinstating the 10% and 11% tax brackets. Revenue generated: $5.6 billion.
- Closes a corporate tax loophole for large corporations. Revenue generated: $1.1 billion.
- Suspends a tax adjustment for upper-income Californians. Revenue generated: $815 million.
- Rolls back a tax loophole for upper-income Californians. Revenue generated: $215 million.
- Restores the franchise tax. Revenue generated: $470 million.
- Steps up tax enforcement. Revenue generated: $1.5 billion. This is one-time revenue.
STATE BUDGET KEY MESSAGES FROM THE EDUCATION COALITION - July 24, 2008
THE EDUCATION COALITION represents more than 1.7 million parents, teachers, school board members, school employees and administrators, represented by:, The Association of California School Administrators (ACSA).The California Association of School Business Officials (CASBO), The California County Superintendents Educational Services Association (CCSESSA), The California. Federation of Teachers (CFT-AFL-CIO), The California School Boards Association (CSBA). The California School Employees Association (CSEA). The California State PTA. The California Teachers Association (CTA) and The Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
· Support the Legislative Conference Committee Budget to Avoid Deeper Cuts to Education and Other Children’s Services. The final adopted package must include revenue enhancements.
· Time is running out for our students and schools. With the new school year approaching, our students and their education can’t afford to wait any longer. In order to open the door to learning, schools need the funding and resources to start the school year. It’s time for lawmakers to put partisan politics aside and support a budget plan that closes tax loopholes and increases revenues to protect public education and other vital services.
· In the midst of California’s $15.2 billion budget deficit, the Education Coalition supports a balanced approach to solving our state’s budget problems in order to protect our schools and safeguard our students’ futures.
· With the revenues generated in the Legislature’s Conference Committee budget plan, $2.4 billion of the Governor’s proposed $4.3 billion in cuts would be restored. This plan reinstates funding for important student programs such as Class Size Reduction and provides a partial cost-of-living-increase to help attract and retain quality teachers and offset rising gasoline and transportation costs.
· The Conference Committee budget plan closes tax loopholes for large corporations and provides new and steady sources of revenue to help protect our public schools and community colleges from deeper cuts and further deterioration.
· Our public schools have already experienced more than $500 million in unexpected budget cuts this year—forcing many schools to lay off teachers and education support professionals as well eliminating art, music, and vocational education programs that help students learn and succeed. These cuts come at a time when California already ranks 46th in per-pupil spending, and dead last in the number of counselors, librarians and school nurses per student. The simple fact is California’s schools need additional revenues to provide our students with the education they deserve.
· The recent “Getting Down to Facts” studies from Stanford University show that California seriously underfunds its public schools and would need to spend 40 percent more to ensure that all students meet the state’s rigorous academic standards. The studies also show that other states like New York spend 75 percent more on students than California.
· Our students and schools need real state budget solutions, not gridlock. Our students didn’t create this budget crisis and their futures shouldn’t be sacrificed to solve it. It’s time to take a balanced approach of cuts and revenue increases in order to solve the state’s budget crisis!