Assemblyman Don Wagner: Budget Fact Check – Is High Speed Rail More of a Budget Priority Than Education?
Posted by Newsletter Reprint on July 7, 2012
This came over the wire from Assemblyman Don Wagner’s office on Thursday…
Is High Speed Rail More of a Budget Priority Than Education?
On June 15th, the Legislature adopted the 2012-13 budget (AB 1464). Amendments to the budget bill (AB 1497) and the education budget trailer bill (SB 1016), the bill that implements the education policy changes needed to make the budget work, were adopted on June 27th.
As the Legislature prepares to cast votes on a high speed rail plan that could cost taxpayers as much as $68 billion, there are serious questions about whether high speed rail is more of a priority in the majority vote budget than education.
While there was plenty of rhetoric about how education was a priority for the majority party, the California Budget Fact Check found:
- Despite an $8.5 billion tax increase proposal, Proposition 98 would benefit by only $2.9 billion of the new money in 2012-13. Because the new money is, for the most part, used to buy down ongoing K-14 budgetary deferrals and backfill prior-year one-time savings actions, no new programmatic funding will be available for schools. California’s CSU and UC higher education systems will also see no programmatic funding increase in 2012-13 despite the proposed tax increase.
- The budget targets education for 99% of the education trigger cuts despite the fact that education only represents 50% of General Fund spending. Under the trigger cut proposal, schools will still take a $2.7 billion programmatic hit and a $300 million cut for community colleges. UC and CSU will take a $500 million cut.
- The majority vote budget rejected both a Legislative Analyst’s proposal and a Republican proposal to reduce or eliminate the Governor’s proposed education trigger cuts.
- The budget ignores the vast majority of the Education Coalition concerns outlined in their May position paper.
- Health and welfare is virtually untouched in the Governor’s 2012-13 trigger cuts, even though health and welfare costs will continue to grow by 18 percent over the next 3 years and represent about 30 percent of General Fund spending.
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