Guv promises to “protect education funding”

Arnold SchwarzeneggerI just received a transcript of Gov. Schwarzenegger’s State of the State Address, which he opened with a story of teamwork — between his family’s miniature pony and pot-bellied pig.

Later in the speech, the governor said he would “protect education funding,” despite the state’s projected $20 billion deficit through the end of 2010-11.

That’s a tall order without raising taxes, since education makes up roughly half of the budget, so I’ll be curious to see the details of his budget plan on Friday. Maybe the state Legislators will take his pony and pig story to heart.

Here’s an excerpt of his speech:

Now, I will address our immediate budget situation more fully in a few days, when I present my budget but let me just give you an overview.

We face a $19.9 billion deficit — $6.6 billion for the rest of this budget year and $13.3 billion for the upcoming budget year.

Big picture, let me tell you what will be required here.

First, as bitter as the words are in my mouth, we face additional cuts. We know what that means. We know the pain it entails. I mean, what can we say at this point except the truth, that we have no choice?

But I am drawing this line. Because our future economic well-being is so dependent upon education, I will protect education funding in this budget. (Applause) And we can no longer afford to cut higher education either. (Applause)

The priorities have become out of whack over the years. I mean, think about it.
30 years ago 10 percent of the general fund went to higher education and three percent went to prisons. Today, almost 11 percent goes to prisons and only 7.5 percent goes to higher education.

Spending 45 percent more on prisons than universities is no way to proceed into the future. (Applause) What does it say about our state? What does it say about any state that focuses more on prison uniforms than on caps and gowns? It simply is not healthy.

So I will submit to you a constitutional amendment so that never again do we spend a greater percentage of our money on prisons than on higher education. (Applause)

We’ll see what he proposes on Friday.

Katy Murphy

Education reporter for the Oakland Tribune. Contact me at kmurphy@bayareanewsgroup.com.

  • Sue

    Yeah, right.

    A politician’s promises and a dollar will get you a lousy cup of coffee.

    (Taking off my cynic’s hat and going back to work now.)

  • http://www.movingforwardeducation.com Lacy Asbill

    Remember when Grey Davis was recalled for “gross mismanagement of California Finances by overspending taxpayers’ money, threatening public safety by cutting funds to local governments, failing to account for the exorbitant cost of the energy, and failing in general to deal with the state’s major problems until they get to the crisis stage.”?? Sound familiar? California cannot let short-term rhetorical inspiration stand in for real political problem-solving…again. How is our governor going to keep this promise?

  • Kim Shipp

    If anyone is really serious about education, health care, unemployment, poverty, the super rich and the super poor, etc., I would suggest, as a must read Ralph Nader’s new book titled ” Only the Super Rich-Can Save Us”. This epic tale outlines how America has short changed its very existence by corporate greed. And guess who are the revealers- The Super Rich themselves, Warren Buffett, Ross Perot, William Gates Sr., Ted Turner, just to name a few. The book is over seven hundred pages long, but will intrigue you beginning on page one. On page 101, one of the Super-Rich explains why and how the rich and the poor live in the Golden State and what Governor Schwarzenegger must do to rid the State of it debt. If Schwarzenegger takes heed, perhaps he can keep this promise. Get the book, I guarantee if it does not change one’s life, it certainly will change ones perspective.

  • Steven Weinberg

    The Sacramento Bee has an excellent article showing how Governor’s proposal is actually a 1.2 to 2 billion dollar cut in educational funding. http://www.sacbee.com/education/story/2450729.html#mi_rss=Education