GOP: Slash education and social spending
December 16, 2008
• Republican budget plan would also redirect voter-approved money
• Lawmakers asked to take 5 percent pay cut
Smelt roam the waters in the pink-shaded area (F&WS)
After blocking Democratic plans to balance California’s careening budget with tax increases and spending cuts, state Republicans hatched their own plan Monday that relies on spending cuts without increasing taxes.
Under the Republican plan:
• Spending on public education from kindergarten through university would be slashed.
• Money now being used to help the disabled, the blind and the elderly would be cut back.
• State support for medical care for the poor would be trimmed.
In all, $22 billion would be cut from current two-year spending plans, say Republican Senate leader Dave Cogdill of Modesto and GOP Assembly leader Mike Villines of Clovis.
Republicans want to change the intent of voters when they approved Proposition 63 in 2004 to pay for mental health programs and their approval of Proposition 10 to tax tobacco to pay for children’s health programs.
By doing so, says the GOP, some $3.9 billion could be sucked out of Prop 63 and $2.1 billion from the tobacco tax.
A special election would need to be held to get voter approval of the change in spending. The GOP says there’s a lot of money still unspent in the funds, but supporters say that money has already been allocated for programs yet to start.
But the state budget is expected to be $40 billion in the red over the next two years. It’s already estimated to be running a deficit of more than $14 billion for the current budget year that ends June 30, 2009.
Absent from the Republican plan is any hint of a tax or fee increase.
The Republicans also want to make state workers take one day off a month without pay and eliminate two state holidays. The GOP also says it would be nice if lawmakers took a 5 percent pay cut.