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Brown's budget ultimatum could affect Palo Alto

Original post made on Jan 6, 2012

Palo Alto schools "have lots of skin in the game" regarding Gov. Jerry Brown's plan to cut $4.8 billion from public education if voters fail to approve a tax increase this November.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, January 6, 2012, 5:51 PM

Comments (22)

Posted by William, a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 6, 2012 at 10:07 pm

Gov Brown thinks that spending billions for high speed rail is a better use of limited dollars, than schools, and many other worthy programs that actually affect, and benefit, nearly every citizen in this state. His using school funding as a threat to get his proposed tax ballot initiative passed, if it gets on the ballot, is a very sad commentary of what Gov Browns priorities are, and who's interests he looking out for. As far as I can tell, Simitian and Gordon have been silent on this issue, towing the party line and supporting the Gov as he pushes California over a cliff. I'll be voting for whom ever runs against the lot at the next opportunity.

Posted by Earl Richards, a resident of Woodside
on Jan 7, 2012 at 3:10 am

Brown is blackmailing Californians. Why does Brown always pick on the public services and the most vulnerable? He should close commercial and corporate tax loopholes, introduce an oil extraction tax and an oil corporation, windfall-profits tax, then, there would be sufficient revenues to eliminate the deficit. These taxes have to be rolled-back. These budget cuts will prolong the recession.

Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 7, 2012 at 4:49 am

While I appreciate the example given - it is only fair to mention that the HSR money is through a specific bond; the funds can only be used for HSR or not at all.

Posted by Frank, a resident of Ventura
on Jan 7, 2012 at 11:08 am

Education has always been a very high priority among California voters; so you don't need to be very cynical to wonder why it's education to bear the effect of this proposed tax failure.

Why isn't the Governor saying "if this fails we will have to release all the nonviolent criminals in this state" or "if this fails we will eliminate 4.8 billion from agricultural subsidies"? Could it be that he fears the voters will say - sure, go ahead.

Posted by common sense, a resident of Midtown
on Jan 7, 2012 at 1:09 pm

Crescent Park Dad - you are incorrect about the HSR:

1) HSR Authority staff & expenses are paid out of the general fund. For example, $139 million was appropriated in the 2009 & 2010 budget for authority staff & expenses. This money would fund educating 15,000 school age kids for an entire school year.

2) The bonds for construction are repaid from the general fund, both principal & interest. This is not part of the $139 million operating budget.

Posted by John, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jan 7, 2012 at 3:47 pm

Why can,t the warning be:

Bloated pensions and salaries in jeopardy unless we vote ourselves even more taxes than we are already being overtaxed for?

Geez when does it end? When our family turns everything it earns over to city state and county governments?

Posted by John, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jan 7, 2012 at 3:53 pm

More taxes won't mean a reduction in any deficit. It only means more spending!

No more taxes on anybody for anything! Enough already!

Live with what you have, we have to!

Posted by William, a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 7, 2012 at 4:06 pm

@ Crescent Park Dad

common sense is absolutely correct. Many voters really have no idea where or how bond projects are paid for. Another little publicized fact about bonds, and how the state has to pay for them, is; in addition to the fact that the principal AND interest are paid from general funds, ALL bond debt is paid in full every fiscal year before one penny of general funds can be spent on any other budgeted state obligation, like education and so many other programs that genuinely provide real benefits to Californians. If California did not pay its bond debt, it would essentially default on its debt, causing all sort of hurt all the state. Considering how many bond projects have been approved by the ballot initiative process in the past, it's a wonder that there are any general funds to pay for anything but bond debt.

Heaping more bond debt on the tax payers, and the consequences of that action on the citizens of this state, for a boondoggle train, is simply idiotic.

Posted by Greg, a resident of Menlo Park
on Jan 7, 2012 at 4:24 pm

No matter how much money we give to the state via our tax dollars it never seems to be enough. Now they want even more.

Posted by Frustrated Neighbor, a resident of Midtown
on Jan 8, 2012 at 2:59 am

He wants to throw away billions of our tax dollars on a high-seed rail boondoggle and refuses to address the billions more in excessive salaries and benefits he gives to his public employee Democrat cronies-- he'd rather threaten our children's education in a cheap attempt at blackmail.

Well, Palo Alto voters, this is the idiot you wanted in office. Hope you enjoy what you're getting.

Posted by No, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jan 8, 2012 at 6:06 am

There is no way, ever, that more taxes will help the deficit. It will only get spent.

I hope we are finally awake. Brown threatening schools is like Obama threatening to not send Social Security checks, a fear tactic to extort money from us. A false choice. Until our State cuts its spending, drastically, I trust none of them.


Posted by neighbor, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 8, 2012 at 10:38 am

I am quite disgusted at the position "we" are in. California should NOT be in this sorry situation. The democrat-controlled legislature and (whatever) governor have spent us into oblivion and it is ridiculous.
From the state bureacracy to this high speed rail union gift (on behalf of CA taxpayers), it is hypocritical and just too much to sustain.
Keeping a straight face is not possible (I laugh bitterly) while Brown darkly warns of severe impacts to the poor and "education" - a deep hole if there ever was one!
It is time for people to take a clue and vote in better calibre, responsible, ethical representatives to this state.
Meantime, it is outrageous to propose raising our taxes in this high cost/fee'd state while continuing with high speed rail. Obama's ultra-wealthy hightech buddies here won't be affected while those of us in the middle to upper middle class will get soaked even more to attempt to pay for this padded nonsense (meaning overpriced government/union bureaucracy with NO respect for businesslike operations)
oh by the way, throwing more money at education does not solve problems: look at Washington, D.C., for example

Posted by Always Overspending, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 8, 2012 at 10:46 am

Since the State is capable of manipulating the State budget and very possibly move other revenues over to HSR, I plan to vote against any tax increases. HSR should be ended before this tax increase goes before the voters.

Governor Brown is blackmailing the voters and supporting the Unions by not cancelling HSR.

Posted by Don, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jan 8, 2012 at 7:09 pm

My main problem with Brown's education 'plan' is he wants to give schools the right to decide for themselves how to spend our money. Candidly, I do not trust school superintendents and school boards to allocate our money appropriatelt. Instead, I fear that the money will be spent on the board's or superintedant's pet projects, which are too often not the best use of money for education.

Posted by Scared, a resident of Community Center
on Jan 9, 2012 at 10:46 am

Brown doesn't scare me, it is the Palo Alto highly opinionated but uninformed who scare me.

Palo Alto accomplishes next to nothing, is short sighted and complains. We are slow and over budget on everything (Alma, Edgewood, Cell Reception are a few recent examples) but we expect California to be run on a tighter budget.

When will Palo Alto start setting an example of running a balance and effective city?
- Obviously we need to be "blackmailed" into doing it because our little city can't do it.

Posted by Face Reality, Guys, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 9, 2012 at 11:47 am

I can't believe anybody here is bashing Brown. He is a no-nonsense governor that is fighting Democrats to reduce costs. He inherited a huge deficit problem and he's making the right moves to fix things. If he says we need to raise taxes, I'm inclined to think he's correct.

Posted by Super, a resident of Community Center
on Jan 9, 2012 at 3:25 pm

Repeal Prop 13 and maybe the state will be in a better position to collect enough revenues to fund our schools and operations. I can't see how Prop 13 benefits anyone but those who have lived in their houses for many years and bought when prices were low. Check out other how other states administer property taxes - the majority don't have programs like Prop 13. Prop 13 in neither equitable, nor is it fair.

Posted by JMLW, a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 9, 2012 at 3:44 pm

Super - you can't repeal Prop 13, and don't need to.

"I can't see how Prop 13 benefits anyone but those who have lived in their houses for many years"

Then you are missing the biggest part of the picture! Prop 13 was written for the large landowners and commercial operations and corporations. It was just sold to "keep Granny in her home."

Back in the 60's and 70's, 60% of prop taxes came from commercial, 40% from residential.

It's now flipped - 60% of prop taxes come from residential and only 40% from commercial.

So new home buyers are not only inordinately paying for "Granny", but also for the services used by PG&E, Southern Pacific, Stanford, and all the other big landowners profiting under the business loopholes in Prop 13.

It's also not politically viable to change the residential terms of Prop 13. All we have to do is change a few parts that effect businesses so they can pay their fair share of the burden for our communities.

Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton
on Jan 9, 2012 at 4:43 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"All we have to do is change a few parts that effect businesses so they can pay their fair share of the burden for our communities."

A great start would be to require reappraisal after ANY change in commercial property ownership ( now all sorts of sales are exempted) and in the case of ANY lease longer than 5 years. Facebook is leasing its new site in Menlo Park so there is no new appraisal.

Posted by JMLW, a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 9, 2012 at 4:51 pm

"A great start would be to require reappraisal after ANY change in commercial property ownership..."


Great start... and possibly politically viable, though it would get crushed with ads from corporate interests conflating it with "poor Granny, gonna get evicted from HER house!!!"

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 9, 2012 at 5:03 pm

Since blackmail is an ugly unpc word nowadays, perhaps we should just call this brownmail!

Never trust a politician, particularly a career politician.

Posted by Haywood, a resident of Hoover School
on Jan 10, 2012 at 9:48 am

"Never trust a politician, particularly a career politician."

let's look at the current crop on the big stage

Santorum & Romney - would be career politicians if they didn't lose the big ones (their senate seats)

Perry - how long has he been holding office?

Ron Paul - congress for about a hundred years?

Gingrich - whoa, hold the ponies Stella...


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