California GOP leaders came out with a detailed budget yesterday, outlining their plan to dig the state out of its deep fiscal hole. Among the recommendations are enacting over $3 billion dollars in cuts proposed in Governor Brown’s budget, as well as big cuts to Medi-Cal and prisoner health programs. State republicans will also trim the state’s workforce and operating budget. The republicans rejected the idea that there’s no way to save school and law enforcement budgets without raising taxes. They’ve allocated billions to both. As promised there are no proposed tax increases which they claim they can balance the budget without. However, their numbers do depend on fairly high revenue projections, prompting democrats to wonder if they’re depending on a little pixie-dust to make major budget shortfalls disappear. Is the GOP budget feasible? Or, as State Treasurer Bill Lockyear says, will the state republicans need to hire Tinkerbell to make it work? Meanwhile a week of action from California teachers is ending today with big protests here in Los Angeles and at the capitol. We’ll find out what they have to say on the both the Republican and Democrat budget proposals. And given the state’s budget realities, what, if anything, can realistically be done to adequately fund our schools?
Donald Wagner, Republican Assemblyman representing California’s 70th district (Irvine); member of the California State Assembly Committee on Budget
Bill Lockyer, California State Treasurer
A.J. Duffy, President, United Teachers Los Angeles