How Should We Judge The Budget

The California Budget Project was founded with a belief in two basic premises. First, and perhaps most important, that the long-term interests of California are best served when all Californians, and particularly underrepresented communities have a voice in critical budget and policy debates. And second, that there’s an integral connection between the spending and revenue sides of the budget. The proposed budget, and the process by which it was developed, violate both of these principles.

For weeks, we’ve been saying that there would be no winners in the current negotiations over the state budget, but we were wrong. The San Jose Mercury News reports that at least one Silicon Valley leader is claiming victory, “‘All good things come to those who wait,’ said Carl Guardino, president and chief executive of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group. ‘ This potentially is a huge win.'” The win is the $700 million-per-year massive corporate tax cut we blogged about earlier this week and that would be in addition to tax breaks contained in the 2008-09 budget agreement approved in September that will cost nearly $1 billion per year at full implementation that we’ve also written about here. Two temporary tax cuts – a proposed two-year hiring tax credit and a five-year tax credit for film and television producers – would increase the cost of the tax cuts to $1 billion per year. To bring these numbers into perspective, let’s look at what $1 billion per year means in state budget terms:

– $170 for every student in California’s public schools;

– Enough funding to restore proposed 2009-10 cuts to higher education, In-Home Supportive Services, and services for people with developmental disabilities and to provide a cost-of-living adjustment for families in the CalWORKs Program; or

– Almost as much as the General Fund’s portion of the proposed increase in Vehicle License Fees ($1.2 billion).

In today’s Los Angeles Times, Evan Halper compares the winners and losers in proposed budget’s tax changes.

Perhaps the best way to close is with a third premise that underlies the mission of the CBP, that budgets are all about values and priorities. And that’s the standard by which we hope our elected officials and all Californians will judge this and all budgets that come before them.

— Jean Ross

One thought on “How Should We Judge The Budget

  1. Would you please say more about what a budget looks like when “there’s an integral connection between the spending and revenue sides of the budget?”

Comments are closed.