News

Simitian calls Brown's budget a 'grown-up' plan

Despite the pain of cuts, the state may finally be making the hard choices needed, senator says

For years, state Sen. Joe Simitian has been repeating a budget mantra: "Spend less; collect more; do it now."

Gov. Jerry Brown's proposed budget finally does that, he says.

"This governor has stepped up and presented a serious grown-up budget proposal of the kind we haven't seen for seven years," the length of time former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has been in office, Simitian said in an interview with the Weekly.

Brown's budget proposes $12.5 billion "in real cuts" and $12.5 billion in new revenues over 18 months.

Prior governors Gray Davis and Pete Wilson oversaw a period tremendous growth in the state budget, matching a dot-com-booming economy, seeing an increase of about 60 percent between 1996 and 2000, Simitian recalled.

Then things began to go wrong.

"In 2001 things were OK. By 2003 things were seriously out of whack, which prompted the recall effort," Simitian said. Schwarzenegger displaced Davis as governor but failed to take decisive action on the budget imbalance, relying on loans and deferrals.

"Gov. Schwarzenegger always wanted to have it both ways," with spending and no new taxes, Simitian said, noting that state voters rejected budget proposals in a special election in May 2009.

To rectify a $26 billion deficit in the state's $84 billion budget will require painful cuts and other steps, including possibly adding new taxes, raising tuitions and fees.

As a member of the state Senate committee on education, and a long-ago member of the Palo Alto Board of Education, Simitian has watched California's education budgets shrink and is much concerned about the future impacts on the quality of education statewide.

Comments

Like this comment
Posted by yup
a resident of Ventura
on Jan 12, 2011 at 8:49 pm

"Spend less, collect more, do it now."
It won't be easy but it's right thing to do. I have to say I respect Brown more for stating it with no bs. Let's see if it happens.


Like this comment
Posted by Give-'Em-The-Boot
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 13, 2011 at 10:43 am

> [Simitian] is much concerned about the future impacts on the
> quality of education statewide

Well .. if this is Simitian's view of what "quality education" is --
---
Web Link

California schools rated a 'C' in national survey

Dragged down by poor reading and math scores, a low graduation rate and eroding funding for schools, California education received a grade of C and ranked 30th in the nation on an annual survey released Tuesday.
----

then no wonder California's schools are in such a state.

Simitian is a wholly-owned invention of labor unions and special interests. Our schools are not going to get any better until the voters wake up and give professional politicians like Joe Simitian "the boot".


Like this comment
Posted by Carlito ways
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 13, 2011 at 10:49 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Like this comment
Posted by Mike
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 13, 2011 at 11:03 am

But his first corollary is
"if you collect enough, disregard the 'spend less' part"


Like this comment
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 13, 2011 at 11:49 am

How on Earth can California collect MORE???

Our taxes, fees, tolls, tuition, etc... are already too high!

How about just SPEND LESS?


Like this comment
Posted by Bob
a resident of Community Center
on Jan 13, 2011 at 12:19 pm

California cannot house, feed , educate, and care for its exploding population. Our schools and hospitals - our entire health care system - our welfare/social system - and our penal system are strained to the breaking part, broken. And still they come - and come- and come. Many schools have students on Day One where English is not their language - and then the teachers get bad marks if they can't have these children up to grade expectations by June. What kindergartners are supposed to know is amazing. Is it any wonder that the number of college students planning to teach is dropping rapidly? Out-of-control immigration and welfare are destroying California. What can be done?


Like this comment
Posted by Mike
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 13, 2011 at 12:31 pm

What can be done?

Well for starters not electing an entire slate of State offices from the party that has promoted all these expense.

It's too late now for that one.

We are in for a wild ride the next few years. And it looks like the majority of our voters wanted it.


Like this comment
Posted by Steve
a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Jan 13, 2011 at 1:19 pm

Folks,

Come on now! I have yet to see a serious proposal with real numbers about how all of this works without extending the current short-term revenues:

Shorten the school year, release non-violent prisoners, close all state parks, we would not be close yet.

Layoff state workers (which ones?). That worked badly the last time Jerry was governor, I was there. Besides, laid off state workers in a slow economy don't get new jobs, don't pay taxes, and can't move if their mortgages go underwater..


Like this comment
Posted by Resident One
a resident of Green Acres
on Jan 13, 2011 at 1:47 pm

Who will die here in this budget is East Palo Alto, with Brown's plan to decimate the Redevelopment Agency. What is he thinking? What are cities with no redevelopment putting up for cash? Again steal from the poor.

Killing the States redevelopment agencies will bring little finincial gain compared to the widespread and signifacant impacts in economic development. We keep hearing about jobs, at the IKEA retail center, crime that is signicantly down East Palo Alto. All done with Redevelopment funds.

The revialization completed in EPA will be all but dead. If you like the recent upswing in crime in Palo Alto, jump the Simitian bandwagon. Kill EPA's economic development and you can count on it.


Like this comment
Posted by NO-More-RDAs
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 13, 2011 at 2:14 pm

> Killing the States redevelopment agencies will bring little
> finincial gain compared to the widespread and signifacant impacts
> in economic development

Maybe, maybe not .. here's a little reading about the state of CA Redevelopment (by government agencies) that will help to better understand Brown's actions--

Is Redevelopment the Past or Future of Economic Development
in California?

Web Link


Like this comment
Posted by Paul
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 13, 2011 at 5:24 pm

"Dragged down by poor reading and math scores, a low graduation rate and eroding funding for schools"

It's all there, folks. We been cutting our education investment since the Reagan days, and it's paying off.

We got ours by the generosity of our parents and their farsighted forebears. But when it came our turn to pick up the load we cut our taxes so we could buy more toys from Japan & China, and all that oil from Saudi Arabia. Even spent some kids over there to keep that oil coming. We ate up the kids' seed corn, and didn't we have a good time doing it.

Grown-up plan? Time for that was 40 years ago. Now we got growing pain.

Trouble is, we're still around to experience it. Didn't put it off long enough. Bad plan.


Like this comment
Posted by Steve C
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jan 14, 2011 at 8:38 am

I pretty much agree with Paul. It all began with Reagan pandering to the wealthy republicans. More fallout from Reagan's Voo-Doo economics.


Like this comment
Posted by HSR waste
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 14, 2011 at 9:31 am

So long as this State wastes over $9.Billion on HSR I'll vote against any tax increases. Just think what the schools could do with that extra $9.Billion, and also the UC system.


Like this comment
Posted by Jerry99
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 14, 2011 at 3:16 pm

California's taxes are almost the highest in the country already. To balance the budget, mandate across the board reductions in public workers, have public workers pay some amount for health care, and change the pension to 1.5%/year of their average salary for the last 3 years (with no ovetime or vacation "buy backs"). When 5 fire chiefs in East Bay retired with ~240,000$/year the system is completely broken. And Jerry Brown does not even bring it up in his budget, mostly because he got elected by being a pawn of the labor unions. California has no future.


Like this comment
Posted by Give-'Em-The-Boot
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 14, 2011 at 3:24 pm

Scotland, a county of fewer people than the San Francisco Bay Area, has decided to consolidate the whole country's police force, to reduce waste:

Web Link

This is the sort of thing we should be considering here in California. While consolidating the police forces of the SF Bay Area might not be an issue for the State Legislature (at first), no doubt there would need to be laws passed to allow this sort of thing.

We need people less in the pocket of the unions than Simitian to begin suggesting these sorts of ideas.


Like this comment
Posted by Geez
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 17, 2011 at 7:42 am

Paul and Steve C: honestly, you are sounding more and more like those of old who blamed witches or the devil for all their troubles!

Let's just spend what we take in...go back to spending levels of the last Democrat Governor to make you happy, then stick to that. Would be a lot less than now, that is for sure!


Like this comment
Posted by Paul
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 18, 2011 at 9:54 am

"Paul and Steve C: honestly, you are sounding more and more like those of old who blamed witches or the devil for all their troubles!"

It would be nice to dismiss responsibility for the mess, but my blamees are not devils, they are real - all too real. And likely as handy as your nearest mirror.

But I do not blame Republican leaders. They didn't elect themselves. As Obi-wan Kenobe observed, who is the bigger fool, the fool or the fool who follows him?


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Populism: A response to the failure of the elites: Palo Alto edition
By Douglas Moran | 10 comments | 1,580 views

Let's Talk Internships
By John Raftrey and Lori McCormick | 1 comment | 1,373 views

Couples: Sex and Connection (Chicken or Egg?)
By Chandrama Anderson | 1 comment | 1,129 views

Mountain View's Hangen Szechuan to close after 25 years
By Elena Kadvany | 0 comments | 1,057 views

Zucchini Takeover
By Laura Stec | 3 comments | 919 views