Saturday, February 13, 2010

Memo to Meg:

Your priorities are (according to your ad spots that I cannot seem to escape) to create and keep jobs, cut government spending, and fix education...

And you say you're disappointed to see how far California has fallen, in the 'many years' you've been here, and that you want to bring us back to where we were...

But I gotta' help you out with your California history, here. Or else with your connective logic; I'm not sure where the problem is.

Do you know when California had the best educational system in the country, Meg? With incredible access to higher ed and successful K-12?

When we had higher property taxes. Before we decided we needed 2/3 of the legislature to approve any tax or fee or pass a budget, rather than a simple majority, but that a simple majority could cut a tax or fee, or write in corporate loopholes. Before we started giving corporate welfare to Wal-Mart.

Yes, on the surface, our business tax is very high, in CA. Much higher than other places. But the effective tax rate - after all of the gaping loopholes - is one of the lowest in the country.

Yes, we had very high property tax rates, in the '70s. But now, they're (again) one of the lowest in the country.

Our spending per pupil has also dropped to 49th. We were first in the nation, when our K-12 was dazzling. You know what property taxes paid for in California?


Our budget crisis is not a crisis of excessive spending; there is no public spending left. Our budget crisis is a crisis of inadequate inflow.

So the second point is a point of connections.

Education--all education in California--is critically, criminally underfunded. Access has been destroyed, as individual costs have skyrocketed and funding has crashed. Education is a large part of the public sector - a little over half of our general fund goes there (which makes sense; we have 6,259,972 students in public K-12 alone - add in 191,000 in UC, and 417,112 at CSU, and around 2,500,000 students in our community colleges; around 9.4 million students all told.)

"Education" is government spending. It cannot be cut any further. Even Schwarzenegger has accepted this point. It's been cut too far; we cut so far we screwed ourselves out of stimulus funding, if that's not the irony to beat all ironies. We've cut so far that we've failed to follow our own laws about how great a percentage of high school students we will accept into higher ed.

So I guess what I mean to say is this: You cannot both cut government spending and fix education. You cannot both cut government spending and take us back "to where we were." You certainly can't create a corporate capitalist version of tax utopia and fix the schools.

And I'm so, so disappointed that you have so much money that I'm seeing YOUR ads all over TV already, and have yet to see a spot for Jerry Brown.

(Brown, by the way, was governor when we DID have a functioning educational system, when we were rolling in the fucking milk and honey. If you want things back "the way they were," maybe you should throw some funding behind him, hm?)

Now. Back to my Olympics (and consequently, my Ravelympics: I'm participating in Event WIP Dancing, though if I get far enough ahead, I may take up some Event Sock Hockey or Hat Halfpipe - wish me luck!). Just needed to get that out, first.

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