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November 08, 2012 4:04 PM California Turnaround?

By Daniel Luzer

A major concern at this blog, both now and under my predecessor, has been the decrepit state of higher education in California. Thanks largely to Proposition 13, 1978 a ballot initiative that required a two-thirds vote in the legislature to pass any tax increases, the state has incredible trouble raising money, forcing huge cuts in funding for the state’s public colleges and universities, and resulting in semi-regular tuition hikes.

This, according to California State University Chancellor Charles Reed, meant that California’s public higher education system,

once the envy of the world, is struggling. To survive in a way that continues to fulfill its mission, we need to break the mold on how it operates.
State budget cuts have stripped our universities to the bone. And the promise of nearly free, accessible higher education has all but disappeared as cuts have forced tuition increases. What was once a rite of passage for all qualified young people is increasingly becoming untenable for many prospective students.

That might be ending. With the election in California earlier this week, the Golden State might finally be able to get out of the tax policy hole it dug back during the Carter administration. According to a piece by Josh Harkinson at Mother Jones:

State voters passed Proposition 30, a ballot measure that raises sales taxes and income taxes on the wealthy in order to prevent $6 billion in cuts to schools and services. And even more surprisingly, voters apparently have elected a Democratic supermajority to the state Senate and Assembly for the first time in many years, finally giving Democrats the ability to overhaul the Golden State’s tarnished tax code.

These changes don’t automatically result in more generous funding for the state’s higher education system, (and declining state funds for higher education are a nation trend; it’s been going on for years in states without structural barriers to tax increases) at least there’s now a path forward.

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer

Comments

  • Gia Contadina on November 09, 2012 4:01 AM:

    Politics by direct voter intiative simply means that another Prop 13-like measure could be on the ballot in 2014, rendering Prop 30's passage moot and nullifying the effect of a Democratic supermajority in Sacramento.

    If the famous state budget impasses aren't corrected, and done so without severe discomfiture to a majority of taxpayers, I foresee a swift voter reaction to the new permissiveness in the tax environment of CA.

  • Dave Francis on November 16, 2012 4:57 PM:


    MULTIPLE LIES COMING FROM THE DEMOCRATIC MAJORITY ASSEMBLY IN THE SANCTUARY STATE.

    Stephen Frank Stated on 11/14/2012 on California deficits as follows at http://capoliticalnews.com/


    In the past two months, the cash deficit of the State has gone from $22.3 billion to $24.7 billion—just for the first four months of the year.
    Plus the State OWES $12.5 billion to K-12 education

    It owes $15 billion stolen from Trust Funds to cover cash deficit


    It owes $10 billion BORROWED to cover the rest of the cash deficit. The State owes the Feds $10 billion for the loan to the unemployment insurance fund—so California can continue to send out unemployment checks.


    That is a total of $71.5 billion—and there is more. Yet, the State claims “California faces a $1.9 billion deficit through June 2014, significantly smaller than in recent years after voters passed two tax initiatives last week, the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office said last Wednesday”
    They claim we will have this small deficit, instead of $71 billion because of the $9 billion Prop. 30 is going to bring in, in new revenues! Any wonder our kids are illiterate—this is the math taught in our schools. Government lies—and tries to make you feel good about being insolvent.
    Seems like marijuana must be legal in government offices, he has studied.


    HOW MANY LEGISLATORS ARE BRAZENLY LYING ABOUT THE TRUE DEFICIT IN THE 50 STATES?

    California has the highest population of illegal aliens who have settled there. Thousands of children of illegal alien parents gaining automatic citizenship and the cost is thrown at the taxpayers. Health care and other free handouts that are the right of citizens is being disbursed to anybody who sneaks across the border or steps off a plane. None of the 50 states is exempt from this silent attack on our country or the pilfering of their general treasuries. Now the Democrats have their majority public entitlements will be pouring out across the state to all the “Freeloader voters” the spongers and the people who have no intention of finding a job. A large proportion who pay no taxes at all, the parasitic people who are a great windfall for the Democrats and Liberals, who believe we owe them a living?

    Obviously there is an exception to this rule, whereas there are special needs people, the sick and handicapped in some form or other. There are the homeless veterans and plenty other others, but we have become an public assistance nation, but some of the 49 percent that Mitt Romney talked about have scrounged their way through life and allowed the taxpayers to carry them. A great number have figured a way to deceive the welfare system, which is a stain on the real workers. Because the system could easily be thwarted, with stolen ID, the elderly and the sick lose their major assistance to the scroungers. When we cannot truly look after our troops returning from the warzones and still have millions of homeless without hope, then why are we either bringing in millions of legal immigrants, other than highly skilled workers that are always welcome?


    Why is not illegal entry a Felony? CAN ANYBODY ANSWER THAT QUESTION?

    IS CALIFORNIA TAXPAYERS COMMITTED TO SUBSIDIZE ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS FOREVER?

    BEFORE ANY PASSAGE OF IMMIGRATION REFORM FINDS ITS WAY THROUGH THE CONGRESS, TWO BILLS ARE A NECESSITY TO EVENTUALLY STOP THE INGRESS OF ANY MORE FLOWS OF ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS. 1. THE LEGAL WORKFORCE ACT CONTAINING MANDATORY E-VERIFY AND HALT ILLEGAL ALIENS TAKING JOBS AND HOLDING EMPLOYERS ACCOUNTABLE. 2. A SIMPLE AMENDMENT TO END THE BIRTHRIGHT CITIZENSHIP BILL TO STEM THE INFLOW OF SMUGGLED BABIES EITHER UNBORN OR AS AN INFANT, INTO THE UNITED STATES TO GAIN INTENTIONAL RIGHTS TO BE A CITIZEN AND A MASSIVE FINANCIAL B