The cause of the uproar that threw California Community Colleges into a frenzy of uncertainty during this past spring semester and sent administrators into a pitched scramble in an effort to make mid-term budget cuts that would secure students, classified workers, faculty, administrators and keep Yuba Community College solvent has quietly been put to sleep.
Two weeks have passed since California’s Legislature submitted a third annual budget that held Republicans and Democrats in a tug-of war between resisting tax increases and spending cuts. In effect the Legislature did neither.
While raising taxes and cutting spending is at the heart of the recall battle in Sacramento, the problem is not going away because it is bigger than one man.
The fact is that Californians for the past several years have spent money on services they want but cannot afford without raising taxes. Despite the present crisis, the administration balanced the 2003-04 budgets by continuing the practice of the past several years with easy fixes, loans, bonds and schemes that push the budget problem into the next spring semester.
Obviously the problem poses tough questions that are presently being averted by the recall.
Possibly 30,000 students may not be able to register at state colleges next spring and that half of the cost of living expenses in state aid for this year will be denied to senior and disabled persons, but this is marginal damage in contrast to the much deeper cuts and higher taxes required to really balance California’s books.
Imagine a person with several bank accounts that is living beyond his or her cash income and goes into overdraft on one account and borrows from a second account to satisfy the overdraft of the first account and then because the person continues to spend, the second account goes into overdraft. So the person then transfers money from the third account to the second, and continues to spend until the person is spending so much money for services through a five year period that all the accounts are caused to go into overdraft and then this person begins to juggle money around in an attempt to keep up with the overdrafts, until finally there is no money and no income. This is the state of California.
An article published by the Mercury News gave the following account for the break down: Back in the late 1990s, California was thriving and tax money was flooding into the state’s coffers. Between the 1998-99 fiscal years-when income tax revenues began to soar, thanks to stock market gains-and the just completed 2002-3 fiscal year, spending by the general fund increased by $20 billion–$77.7 billion from $57.8 billion.
The Legislative Analyst’s Office breaks growth down like this: $7.1 billion in new spending on education; $4.8 billion in new spending on health; $2.3 billion in new spending on social services; $2 billion in new spending on other public spending.
A student with this information in mind might consider him or her fortunate to be in college.
However, this writer while in route to Yuba Community College observed a man standing on Lindhurst Avenue and Beale Road with long white hair, a lengthy white beard and white robe and a large white placard that read, “The End of the World is near,” and thought, ‘Much Ado about Nothing at the State Capitol’