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California is a Democratic controlled state; in the Senate there are 25 Democrats and 15 Republicans, in the Assembly there are 52 Democrats and 28 Republicans, the Governor and most state offices are Democrats.
In spite of these majorities, the Republicans won the budget battle of 2011.  They got a cut in the sales tax by 1 %, and a cut in the vehicle license fee.  The result will be further cuts in the Univ. of California, further cuts in the California State University system, and further cuts ( called deferrals) in the K-12 schools.
California is presently 47th. out of the 50 states in per pupil expenditures, we are among the very poor in funding our schools.  In prior years, as described by the California Budget project,

“Lawmakers cut the overall annual funding level for K-12 public schools by $6.3 billion, from $50.3 billion in 2007-08 to $44.1 billion in 2009-10.3 Lawmakers cut schools’ general purpose dollars as well as funds earmarked for specific school programs, often referred to as categoricals

What remains?  The proposed budget uses overly generous estimates of future tax incomes.  If the projects fall short, there will be mandated further cuts to the universities and to k-12 education.
By imposing this mostly cuts budgets, the economic crisis flows down to produce cuts in police, fire protection and local budgets.
The Democratic leadership will not admit the truth.  They lost.  Jerry Brown claimed he could negotiate with reasonable Republicans.  He failed.
The school budget crisis was not caused by the Democrats.   Finance capital collapse and theft in housing and  on Wall Street produced this crisis, not police officers, firemen, nurses, librarians and teachers.  The recession took sales taxes and property taxes which normally fund safety and public services.  Now Wall Street has recovered, but the states and the cities and counties are left with the destruction.   The radical, anti tax groups  who control the Republican Party stop us from passing a budget and starting toward recovery.  
The Republican budget plan is to cut taxes and thus force cuts in schools, police, fire, and public safety.  They have won.
What do you want?  I want a city without gangs, with police and firemen on the streets,  with a probation department to divert young people from prison, with parks and libraries open.  This could be achieved by passing a reasonable state budget, and a local increase in sales taxes.  We need to pay taxes for the services we need.
These cuts are not necessary.  The legislature passed horrendous budget cuts in the Spring, and they are about to vote on even more cuts. The Spring 2011  cut funds for students, for the disabled, for the ill, the unemployed- all to protect the rich.  There are funds for the budget, but the rich and the powerful do not pay their taxes.
Here is a list of available revenue sources.
The right wing is playing its usual role:  Race-bait and attack immigrants and the poor to justify cutting taxes for the rich and the corporations. Push laws that disenfranchise young voters. Block legislation so that people come to expect nothing from their government except grief. Demand arrests of the undocumented and  new fences at the border. Shift the economic crisis to the states to   crack down on health services for women who can't otherwise afford care and to families who can’t afford to feed their own children.  Blame teachers and unions for  failures in education caused by childhood poverty. Ignore  the foreclosure crisis and the jobs crisis.
The right wing viewpoint has won another victory in the California budget crisis- even though Democrats control the legislature.  It is long past time for the various progressive  forces in the U.S. , each of which is being crushed by casino capitalism, to work together to defend democracy. This requires unions, teachers, academics, Democratic Party activists and others to recognize that what they have in common is the need for a powerful united front to defend against the right wing onslaughts.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The problem is that there are just enough (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fumie, Zinman, FG, MJB, trumpeter

    Republicans to block everything.

    Add to that prop 13, and revenue increases are off the table.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White

    by zenbassoon on Tue Jun 28, 2011 at 09:54:17 AM PDT

  •  It's an epidemic. Republicans won stage one of (0+ / 0-)

    voter fraud battle in Indiana today.  Republican State Sec of State will not be booted from office at this stage, but still has a trial in August (stage two) over his own personal illegal registration to vote.  Sadly, this man, Charlie White, is in charge of voter safety for all polls in the state.  He just didn't registar where he lived, but used ex-wife's address to qualify for city council post as will as address for his general election bid.

  •  they also made it more likely (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fumie, Zinman, Pluto, Pd, stevenaxelrod

    that CA gets democratic supermajorities in 2012, and possibly a majority vote on revenue initiative, among others.

    the end of the CAGOP is near. holding everything up is the last power they have, and only by a couple of votes. when that 34% goes to 30%, they're history.

    •  Oh God, I hope so... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wu ming

      But I'll never discount the ability of Democrats to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

      In particular, it wouldn't surprise me if we don't build enough party unity to push viable candidates into the "final round" of our new crazy-ass voting system.

      •  the new district lines should help with that (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        but yeah, i'm less sanguine on the effects of the new primary system. i suspect it will play out a bit like the superintendent of education race primary did, but party discipline will have a huge effect, as well as a perennial source of upset and tension within the democratic party.

        someone should really float a new primary system initiative on the next ballot, with ranked voting or IRV or something.

  •  shocker - now what are we gonna do about it? (0+ / 0-)

    Any ideas?

  •  Tax commercial property at present value (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    esquimaux, FG, Pd, MJB, Preposterous Idea

    Perhaps there will be an initiative on the ballot to modify old Prop 13 by eliminating the unfair tax preference given to long-time owners of commercial property.

    By leaving the the unfairness of residential property taxation aside to be addressed another day, we might have a chance of reforming the commercial property taxation issue.  

    "11 dimensional chess" is a clever form of using magical thinking to obfuscate the obvious.

    by Zinman on Tue Jun 28, 2011 at 11:12:02 AM PDT

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