Saturday, July 09, 2005

CA: Gov. Schwarzenegger spins the new state budget

The latest version has passed both houses and awaits Gov. Schwarzenegger’s signature.

In the meantime, we see the Governor putting so much spin on the latest budget, it's possible his story has completely spun out of orbit into an alternate reality. In any case, he'd better sign the damn thing if it's so fantastic.

And because I'm annoyed again, I'm pulling out two atrocious Schwarzenegger spins and the response to it by our Schools Chief, Jack O'Connell (thank goodness for him).

On public education funding
Gov. Schwarzenegger in his radio address July 9th, 2005:
"And what is also fantastic about this budget is that it puts the children first. We fully funded Proposition 98 by raising education spending by $3 billion, $50 billion total, more than ever in our history".

Jack O’Connell, California Schools Chief: "In fact, this budget does not represent a significant increase in funding for our students. It barely keeps our schools afloat at a time when many districts are facing serious budget shortfalls. Nor does the budget include the $3.1 billion our schools were promised under Proposition 98 and the agreement reached with the Governor last year.
On per pupil funding
Gov. Schwarzenegger’s press release 7/05/2005: Per pupil spending will increase to an all-time high of more than $10,000

O’Connell, CA Schools Chief: "Unfortunately, the Governor’s claim that the budget provides more than $10,000 per student is misleading and should not be interpreted as money going to classrooms.

For example, that figure includes $50 million for the State Library and $38 million for the Commission on Teacher Credentialing.

The $10,000-plus-per-student figure also includes money for education over which the state had no control.

His calculation includes: $7.6 billion in federal funding, $1.5 billion to repay local debt service on locally raised money for school building projects, and $3.8 billion for other local revenues raised by local districts for their own schools – everything from booster club bake sales to donations from local businesses.

The reason why every major state-to-state comparison of school funding does not include such funding sources is because they have nothing to do with a state’s effort to support its schools.

Remarkably, the Governor even includes parcel taxes raised at the local level by citizens who believed it necessary to raise their taxes to support a school system under-funded by the state.

While taking credit for a state budget that does not raise taxes to improve schools, the governor also takes credit for local taxes raised for that purpose".
Fortunately, we have the public workers stepping up to the plate in this battle. They have been the fantastic ones in this whole nightmare.

Despite the Schwarznegger strategy to incite a "phenomenon of anger" towards public workers, approval for unions trump over approval of Schwarzenegger's performance as Governor. (Thanks to Randy Bayne) pdf of SJSU's June poll

Also again, thanks to Randy Bayne, we find the Alliance for a Better California's got a new ad out to specifically counter the "phenomenon of anger" strategy.