Prop. 30: If it fails, then it holds teacher pay hostage, not kids

Oct. 30, 2012

By Chris Reed

Proposition 30’s fading poll prospects have led to redoubled efforts by Gov. Jerry Brown and his media allies to warn us how we will betray our schoolchildren if we don’t raise sales taxes and increase income taxes on the wealthy on Nov. 6.

Many editorial pages failed to point out the brutal blackmail represented by the Prop. 30 strategy of creating a $5 billion hole in the K-12 education budget. Now those editorial pages are saying the hole can only be fixed by voters joining Brown in pretending that Prop. 30 supporters hold the moral high ground.

But at some point — my guess is 9:30 p.m. next Tuesday — California’s political class is finally going to start thinking about how it will deal with this hole in the budget and stop lecturing voters about what jerks they are for not raising their own taxes to continue funding a broken status quo.

The looming 8 percent cut in teacher pay

Specifically, they will think about the implications of how Legislature and the governor forced school districts to deal with the $5 billion once it went missing: by cutting the school year by 8 percent, from 175 days to 161 days.

Why does that save so many billions? Because it represents an 8 percent cut to by far the biggest item in the state budget: teacher pay. (Think about it: Prop. 98 reserves about 43 percent of revenue for schools; 90 percent or more of school district operating funds goes to compensation, primarily teacher pay.)

At this point, the Prop. 30 strategy no longer holds schoolchildren hostage. It holds teachers hostage.

Does anyone really think the California Teachers Association and its less brash little bro, the California Federation of Teachers, are going to stand for an 8 percent pay cut? When the most powerful political force in the state, by far, faces such a threat, guess what? It will come like a crazed wolverine after every last dollar of revenue available in Sacramento.

The CTA’s coming ‘war against all’

The governor warned of a “war of all against all” over the budget. But if Prop. 30 fails, what we will really see is the war of the CTA against all.

I bet at 1705 Murchison Drive in Burlingame the CTA has its list all ready to send out to pliant Democratic lawmakers the morning of Nov. 7. It will lay out a call to minimize the $5 billion hit to K-12 funding with gimmicks and midyear cuts in a variety of state programs. This is just for starters:

* Starving local governments of promised state funds through accounting tricks and subterfuge.

* Passing a variety of illegal fee hikes and pretending that they don’t violate Proposition 26, the supermajority vote to pass new taxes and fees.

* Reducing the safety net by cutting services for the needy — even if it means taking on the Service Employees International Union.

* Sharply increasing University of California and California State University tuition and limiting the tuition reductions that tens of thousands of students get but which the media never explain — even if it means taking on the faculty unions.

* Reducing the prison population, whether by “realigning” more allegedly low-risk inmates to the local level, speeding up parole, or both — even if it means taking on the prison guards union.

* Most juicily of all, going after the billion-dollars-plus that the California Air Resources Board expects to raise this fiscal year once it begins auctioning off pollution rights later under its AB 32-mandated Cap and Trade program.

AB 32 trickery a certainty

Now I assume that at least someone out there is saying, “Hey, wait a minute, the use of those fees is severely limited. They can only go for pollution relief or to fight global warming.”

But who believes that this will stop the Legislature from doing the CTA’s bidding with the usual accounting scams? This is a state government that would be under permanent siege by the Securities and Exchange Commission were it held to the same standards as companies in the private sector. It is not a government peopled by people with consciences.

So expect the CTA to argue that health programs, forestry programs, water programs and regulatory programs (including the air board itself) have a nexus with pollution and thus could be funded with pollution fees. Voila — the regular general fund dollars these fees replaced could be shifted to K-12.

An inevitable power play

There’s an inevitability to this scenario. When the top priority of the most powerful force in California politics is preserving the pay of veteran teachers, then the lawmakers beholden to this force will do what they’re told.

We have a state Legislature so terrified of the CTA that it ignores President Barack Obama’s calls for education reform, that it is gearing up to kill a 1971 state law requiring student performance be part of teacher evaluations and that even protects classroom sex predators. Hollowing out the rest of state government to keep teacher pay intact won’t cost Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, Assembly Speaker John Perez, D-Los Angeles, or any other Dem lawmaker a moment of sleep.

Expect the crusade to begin bright and early Nov. 7.


Write a comment
  1. Ron Kilmartin
    Ron Kilmartin 30 October, 2012, 10:33

    As long as we have CARB and Energy Commission bureaucrats blowing our money out the window, we have a huge resource of unneeded expenses and salaries that need to becut. Take a 50 to 75 percent cut in these budgets and you got it covered. Make these people get a real job instead of bloodsucking in the taxpayers and blaming it on the carbon hoax.

    Not a dime should come from education if Prop 30 is voted down!

    Reply this comment
  2. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 30 October, 2012, 11:50

    This is a very very good article…Ms. Grimes is the best researcher…..where does she find the time!

    Reply this comment
  3. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 30 October, 2012, 14:15

    Teddy, Chris reed did hte article, and i tris exactly what will happen, Clow won’t cut $5 billion form teacher pay, they would fire him.

    Cuts will happen just like it has been laid out here.

    Reply this comment
  4. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 30 October, 2012, 14:16

    We need an **EDIT** feature. 😉

    Reply this comment
  5. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 30 October, 2012, 14:18

    Albert Einstein has weighed in on Prop. 30 and Prop. 38;

    “Spending more money on doing what has been done in the past and hoping for a better outcome is insanity”.

    Reply this comment
  6. Kevin O'Connor
    Kevin O'Connor 30 October, 2012, 15:03

    Prop 30 is another tax and waste measure supporting high paying wages pensions and illegal aliens.

    The idiot tax–Vote NO.

    Reply this comment
  7. Bob
    Bob 30 October, 2012, 16:04

    Even if 30 passes Brownie will be back at the table demanding higher taxes within a year.

    Brownie’s tax increases are small compared to what Ahnode pushed through.

    And Ahnode’s tax increases didn’t solve anything.

    Reply this comment
  8. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 30 October, 2012, 19:25

    Poodle needs a posting limit… many posts….who reads the drivel……

    Reply this comment
  9. Ted Steele, The Decider
    Ted Steele, The Decider 30 October, 2012, 20:29

    I love the way Poodle talks to u haul thinking he is me! We have the poor troll utterly confused! He is talking to himself!!!

    Reply this comment
  10. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 30 October, 2012, 21:16

    Even if 30 passes Brownie will be back at the table demanding higher taxes within a year
    Yep, within a year…..

    Reply this comment
  11. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 30 October, 2012, 21:17

    Poodle needs a posting limit
    Hi Teddy 😉

    Can we limit yor gimmick accounts????

    Reply this comment
  12. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 30 October, 2012, 22:55

    Your affable Buzzard will be your lifetime nightmare….you betcha…..

    Reply this comment
  13. SeeSaw
    SeeSaw 31 October, 2012, 21:42

    Of course Arnold’s tax increases didn’t help, Bob. They were only in effect for 18 mos.

    Reply this comment
  14. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 1 November, 2012, 08:10

    Anolds tax increase would not have helped if it were 18 years.

    Reply this comment

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