California teachers oppose Prop. 1A

The California Federation of Teachers (CFT) opposes Prop. 1A because our leaders look at the "whole child" when evaluating public policy. Students are affected by what takes place outside, as well as inside, the classroom. Prop. 1A would force deep cuts to the non-Prop 98 portion of the state budget, especially public health and services to children in poverty, seniors and the disabled. Educators know that children who come to school sick or hungry cannot learn.Prop. 1A will cut billions of dollars from education and other funding that students need within a few years. Prop. 1A will cut higher education, which is not protected by Prop. 98. The cap on the state budget will require ongoing cuts to the California State University and University of California, or force student fee increases, or both, even in good times. CSU student fees have risen more than 110% since 2002. UC students have faced similar increases. Prop 1A will continue the trend of pricing working families out of a university education. When combined with Prop. 1B (which CFT supports), Prop. 1A would mandate the payback of Prop. 98 monies owed to schools. But that is money already owed to the schools. If Prop. 1A fails, educators will seek other ways, through the courts, for example, of recapturing those funds. Prop. 1A is bad public policy. There are other avenues to ensure the payment of past-due Prop. 98 monies, CFT opposes. In addition, Prop. 1A doesn't do what it says it will. Read the text for yourself. It fixes nothing in the state budget process, and digs the fiscal hole deeper. Proposition 1A imposes a permanent state spending cap and gives the governor unprecedented budgetary powers to make midyear cuts without legislative approval or public input. Prop 1A would divert funding from key services in good and bad times. Prop. 1A's numbers don't add up. Prop 1A fails to take into account the long-term impact on the state budget of our aging population. 1A would create a budget cap, which will prevent state programs from keeping pace with the rising cost of goods and services, especially retiree health care. That will mean further reductions in services, and harm to education. Prop 1A proposes to create a "rainy day fund" of $12 billion. How are we going to come up with those billions? A true rainy day fund would set aside money from an adequate yearly budget for hard times: not rob a drastically reduced budget and create a permanent cap that will starve important social programs. Defeat of 1A would have no impact on the state budget for two years, since the tax increases it proposes wouldn't kick in until 2011. 1A will not fix the state budget process, but will make it worse. The budget problem stems from legislative gridlock created by California's two-thirds vote requirement to pass a state budget. Defeating Prop. 1A will send the Governor and Legislature back to the drawing board to get it right.

********** Published: May 15, 2009 - Volume 8 - Issue 4