Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's budget-rescue plan is a "patch and repair Band-Aid to get us through this tough year," state Sen. Joe Simitian said Saturday in a Palo Alto presentation. But don't bank on it becoming reality, he warned.
The proposal to sell bonds to borrow against future revenue from the state lottery to help erase this year's $17 billion state budget deficit may spare local school districts from large budget cuts, Sen. Simitian told local school officials and parents Saturday.
Sen. Simitian, D-Palo Alto, met with about 50 members of local school and college districts and interested parents Saturday morning in Palo Alto.
"There is no guarantee (the governor's proposal) will have much traction with the legislative leadership, Democrats or Republicans," Sen. Simitian said.
The proposal, made last week, is encouraging for school districts and community colleges, "but it may not bear much relation to the final (budget)," he said.
"Don't make plans based on the proposal," Simitian warned members of local school boards. "Hope for the best but prepare for the worst. … The budget process could still go upside down and we could go in a different direction."
Noting that the governor's plan wouldn't solve a continuing budget problem, Sen. Simitian was blunt in saying that "this continued evasion of responsibility to pass a balanced budget is inexcusable."
All but one Republican member of the state Assembly and Senate have signed pledges to never raise taxes, Sen. Simitian said. That means a balanced budget can only be reached by deep funding cuts or, as in the governor's proposal, borrowing against future revenues.
The California State PTA released a statement Wednesday opposing the governor's budget proposal.
"The dialogue at the Capitol needs to continue moving towards how much we should invest in our children and California's future, not how much we can afford to cut," the PTA said. "California has been operating for too long with a broken, outdated budget process."
Barbara Spreng of Palo Alto, the chairman of the district presidents of the state PTA, said the group also opposes the governor's proposal because of likely cuts in health and other social services.
Sen. Simitian noted that the governor's proposal recognizes the importance of education funding, which has been made clear to him through hearing from constituents and organizations, including business groups.