Wake Up Californians, Our Kids Deserve Better

When I was a kid, California was a much better place to live. Californians boasted the state’s economy was the 7th largest in the world. More people were moving to our state than any other state in the country.  Our education system was one of the best in the country. We had thriving industries including entertainment, aerospace, semiconductor, computer, and agriculture.

Today, California is a much different place. Our elected representatives have created a state of entitlement. They have taxed and regulated many of our industries to extinction or out of California. Our public employee unions have worked with our government representatives to create unsustainable pension obligations.  Our agriculture industry has been suffering for years under pressure from environmental lobbyist and the legislators they own. People, who can, are moving out of California as fast as possible. “According to the Census Bureau, from 2000 to 2004, California lost 99,000 more people to other states than it gained from other places in the United States.”

Our governor repeatedly places his financial contributors ahead of our kids. At the beginning of Governor Brown’s current term, he signed a record pension deal with the prison guards' union, “a union that spent nearly $2 million to help him win election last year” . After passing this year’s  budget, he worked with our representatives to pass a midnight measure, AB 114, that gambles with our kids’ educational future and rewards the teachers’ union, one of Brown’s most powerful supporters. He continually puts the interests of unions and others who helped bankroll his campaign ahead of our kids.

AB 114 handcuffed our school districts from making some of the difficult decisions to insure the future of our kids’ education. It required the districts to assume funding will remain at its current level; they can’t cut programs or layoff teachers. It also meant that if revenue doesn’t materialize in January 2012, school officials’ hands are tied. Their only real option for making up for the lost funding will be up to seven furlough days that have to first be negotiated. With layoffs off the table, districts have no leverage in these negotiations. Cuts could fall heavily on those who are not teachers, our kids.

Our Governor and his partners in the legislature knew they were balancing the state budget using unreasonable revenue projections and our state is already facing a $13 billion deficit. Because of their legislation, California faces $2 billion in automatic spending cuts. What is our Governor’s solution? Take more from our kids. He is going to allow school districts to reduce the school year by up to seven days, from 175 to 168. California had 180 school days before the current recession.

Why is taking from our kids, the future of our families, always the answer? Even with inevitable bankruptcy staring us in the face, we continue to re-elect the same “leaders” who have ruined our home. We have no one to blame but ourselves. When will Californians wake up and change the direction of our state? Unfortunately, I think we will have to hit rock bottom. Fortunately, at the rate we are going, we won’t have to wait much longer.

Here are links to a couple informative posts and articles:

OurFocusOurKids.com - “What is AB 114”

About.com - “California Population”

Latimes.com “Newe contract for Claifornia prison guards lifts cap on saved vaction”

Bloomberg Businessweek - “Calif. Faces $13B deficit, faces midyear cuts”