Friday, April 27, 2012

Education Connection: California Voters Fail To Understand Link Between Tax Increase & School Budget Cuts

This SF Chronicle article claims that there is a "disconnect" in the minds of California voters. 80% of the poor fools, you see, oppose cuts to education spending but only 50% support the governor's proposed tax increases. 

Nearly 80 percent of Californians oppose $5 billion in so-called trigger cuts to state schools this fall, but only a slight majority of voters support the governor's tax plan to stop it, according to a survey of 2,000 voters released Wednesday. 
At this point, 54 percent of likely voters said they'd vote for Gov. Jerry Brown's ballot measure to temporarily boost sales tax and income tax on wealthy California residents, the Public Policy Institute of California poll found. 
If it doesn't pass, Brown's plan calls for school budget cuts to be triggered. Supporters of the tax hike measure expect to submit enough signatures to qualify for the Nov. 6 ballot sometime next month. 
Wednesday's poll signals something of a voter disconnect in the early stages of the campaign, said Mark Baldassare, the institute's president. 
Part of that could stem from the fact that most voters, 65 percent, like the idea of a tax on the wealthy to support schools, but 52 percent of those surveyed said they don't like the sales tax increase. 
The survey also showed voters want education dollars spent more wisely, with 48 percent saying that doing so would significantly improve schools. On the other hand, 46 percent of those surveyed said it will take wisdom and more money to make an impact. 
Just 6 percent said more money by itself would have the most impact.

On the issue of tax increases, I'd say most tax payers think they're taxed enough as it is, even if just through sales and gas taxes. The state pulls in plenty of tax revenue and spends every dime, but magically it's just not enough. 

On the issue of spending cuts, I'd say the average Californian knows there's something deeply wrong in the manner in which the state spends its education money. For one thing, we've spent decades adding special funding sources, including the Lottery. We've been segregating education funds from the rest of the budget. Etc. California became a one-party state in large part due to the state Dems' riding "education" and "the Children" to power. Now that they have total control over every possible lever in state politics...they are using the prospect of education cuts to bully people into raising taxes on themselves. Nice. 

For another, I think we all know that education isn't the only budget bloat in the state budget. Where are the proposals to cut the $50K we spend on housing each and every prisoner? (put 'em in tents). Where are the proposals to cut green subsidies? Or high speed rail? Or a million other dumb enviro-nut money pits? How about getting rid of the Air Resources Board, which only duplicates the already lousy work of the EPA? Education is one of the few aspects of state government that voters actually don't mind spending money on, but it's also the one that's perennially threatened with cuts. It's almost like Dems see students as little more than human shields for all of their other programs.   

There's no disconnect in those numbers. People know instinctively that raising more money through  tax increases isn't going to solve the state's funding problems. They know that education money is spent inefficiently and wastefully. The only disconnect is why these folks have become convinced that the leftists in state government are the ones to trust with their kids' educations. 

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