What a difference years of draconian cuts and a tax hike make! The sea of red ink that became part and parcel of state budgets in the past few years seems like history, according to Governor Brown’s new spending plan.
This perspective allows for a 180-degree turn; our state now projects surpluses of millions of dollars instead of the previous deficits of thousands of millions.
Education is the sector that has benefitted the most from this transformation. The budget for K-12 and community colleges will increase by $2.7 billion next year and by $19 billion by 201617. In this aspect, basic education will benefit most of all.
The governor will renew this year his effort to change the formula to allocate funds in the K-12 system, so that schools that need more financial support will be the ones receiving more funding. Last year, that same proposal from Brown failed when faced with opposition, mainly from suburban schools that feared they would lose funding with the change. With more funding now available for everyone, it is more feasible that this modification will be accepted.
Not having projected deficits in the future and reinvesting in education is wonderfulespecially after for example, $2.7 billion were cut from K-12 education in five years. But there are other areas, like the court system, which is seeing cuts of $200 million.
In reality, California is coming out of the hole, but that does not mean there is money to waste. Budget projections are future calculations that reality later contradicts.
That is why it is important for the good news about the budget not to trigger a wave of spending in the Democrat-controlled Capitol. California needs investment in human and material infrastructure; we think the path should be gradual to avoid risking a return of the deficit.
We hope this budget plan means a new cycle for California, but for that to happen, self-control and responsibility are needed in Sacramento.