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[Gcl-devel] The Proof is in the Numbers

From: Senator Bob Dutton
Subject: [Gcl-devel] The Proof is in the Numbers
Date: Fri, 28 Jan 2005 11:35:17 -0800

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The Proof is in the Numbers
by Senator Bob Dutton

The truth, they say, is always in the numbers.

But if you were to believe many who have begun blasting Governor Schwarzenegger’s 2005-06 budget since it was released on January 10, you’d be led to believe that this year’s spending proposals included draconian cuts to everyone depending on the services of the state.

Nothing, however, could be further from the truth and the actual numbers bear that out.

Let’s take a look at the General Fund portion of the state budget. Governor Schwarzenegger has proposed spending $85.7 billion this coming year. That is a $5.2 billion increase over last year. That’s more than $5.2 billion more to the General Fund without raising taxes – something I’ve fought hard against in my two-plus years in Sacramento. When you compare General Fund spending to just a few years ago, the increases are even more dramatic. Since 1998-99, revenue to the State of California has increased nearly $28 billion – from $57.8 billion to its current year project of $85.7 billion.

Clearly the numbers show that California doesn’t have any problem generating revenue.

More specifically, if you look at the education portion of the budget you will see equally dramatic increases over the last several years – despite what you may have recently heard through paid advertisements from the California Teachers Association.

In the ad, the president of the CTA uses terms such as “Because of state budget cuts…” and “….they’ve (the governor and Legislature) got to stop balancing the budget on the back of our children.” The ad has gone as far as to say education spending has been cut by nearly $10 billion over the last several years.

But once again when you look at the numbers you’ll see that schools will be receiving billions more in funding this year compared to last and spending for students has steadily risen for several years.

Governor Schwarzenegger has proposed spending $50 billion on K-12 education this year compared to the $47.1 billion last year – an increase of $2.9 billion. Education spending, which makes up more than 58 percent of the general fund budget, has increased from $35.6 billion in the 1998-99 fiscal year to $50 billion this year.

The $2.9 billion in spending represents an increase of more than $350 per student. The state is proposing spending $7,374 per student, compared to $7,012 per student in last year’s budget and $5,751 per student in the 1998-99 budget.

Disagreeing with Governor Schwarzenegger is one thing, but being intellectually dishonest in calling an increase a cut is another.

This year’s budget presented by the governor is a starting point that all members of the legislature will have their say in the next several months. But the numbers in this budget once again clearly show that this state doesn’t have a problem generating revenue. We must, however, control our spending and this budget, while it increases overall spending by more than 4 percent, starts us down the path of living within our means.

Contact Senator Dutton: Email • Website

Rancho Cucamonga
State Capitol, Room 2068 8577 Haven Avenue, Suite 210
Sacramento, CA 95814 Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730
Phone: 916-445-3688 Phone: 909-466-4180
Fax: 916-445-2272

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