This week, the main event of this year, the budget fight, was given some definition…
The first skirmish was on the terrain of education. That makes sense, given that education is the biggest portion (nearly half) of the state’s budget, but it’s not the only worthy spending priority. Health advocates should note that health is the second largest portion of the state budget, nearly a third.
So we had several coalition against cuts form, including one headlined with Lt. Gov. Garamendi. We had students stage a mass walk-out of class. And most importantly, we had Senator President Pro Tem Perata, and his successor, Senator Steinberg, make a clear statement at a press conference against the education cuts, and vow the “fight of a lifetime” to prevent those cuts, with a solution that included raising taxes.
Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata was unequivocal about the need for an alternative to the cuts-only budget, in response to a question.: “Raise taxes. That clear enough? Raise taxes.”
Later, he acknowledged this is hard politically even to say, but “now we’re wet,” presumably as a metaphor.
The Republican legislative leaders put out their own statement, in opposition to any taxes. So we await the Republican legislative caucuses to reveal what cuts that they would take ownership over, and support, and not complain about.
It’s fine to for us oppose cuts to schools, parks, hospitals, and other vital services. But we’ve got to put our money where our mouths are..