The “Borrow from Peter to Pay Paul” Republican Plan on Education

State Rep. Todd Spitzer had an interesting column in the Register earlier this week about a Republican plan to restore education funding with no cuts to teachers and without raising taxes.  Read it here.

The old expression “if it sounds to good to be true, it probably isn’t” applies here.  Spitzer and Republicans are using smoke and mirrors to pay for education by cutting budgets from programs that are already being severely cut.  What Republican lawmakers want is a plan that would restore only half of the $4.8 billion budget cuts proposed for education by the Governor (who I believe still plans to release the May revised budget today). Spitzer says the plan would give schools more than they’re getting this year but less than they’re suposed to under California’s constitutional school funding guarantee.  All without raising taxes.

How, you ask?

The Republicans would delay funding new education programs, use unspent cash from existing school accounts (and many schools are restricted from spending money in certain ways), take money public transit with gas at $4 a gallon and rising, and by cutting other state programs, such as welfare, even deeper.  And there’s no cost-of-living increase for teachers either. So this proposal has pretty much a zero chance of getting through the legislature. 

Instead of cutting welfare, how about closing the sloophole for luxury yacht owners?

Spitzer is also behind the new victims rights initiative, Marsy’s Law, being funded in part by ex-Broadcom executive Henry Nicholas.  That initiative, while admirable in its goals, calls for a half-billion in new spending and the petition I saw did not indicate how it might be paid for.  I wonder how Spitzer thinks this program would be funded and would he vote for a tax increase to fully fund Marsy’s law?

Compromise gentleman.  Come to the table and be prepared to work things out through a combination of budget cuts, elimination of tax loopholes, and increases in fees and possibly taxes.  Start by dumping the sloop hole tax on luxury yahcts, and I’m all ears.