Overview of the Governor's Budget

The 2012-13 Budget: Overview of the Governor's Budget

January 11, 2012

 


The Governor’s proposed tax initiative is the cornerstone of his 2012-13 budget plan, which includes proposals to restructure education finance, reduce social services and child care programs substantially, and implement trigger cuts--primarily affecting schools--if voters do not approve the tax measure. The Governor’s plan would continue the difficult task of restoring the state budget to balance, but the difficulty in knowing how much taxable income will be attributable to high-income Californians makes the state’s revenue estimates an even bigger question mark than usual. With regard to the Governor’s major proposals, we think the Governor’s education restructuring proposals would institute lasting improvements to the system, and we observe that, while his social services and child care proposals have merit, they involve considerable drawbacks as well, given potentially severe impacts on affected families. Moreover, while the Governor’s tax initiative would improve the financial outlook of public education over the next several years, his trigger plan would create significant uncertainty for educational institutions in their planning for 2012-13. The Legislature needs to be very deliberate in structuring a workable trigger package and designing tools to help schools respond to potential trigger cuts.