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"Fasten Your Seat Belts"

Incoming Gov. Jerry Brown Warns of Further Reduction to State's K-12 Education Funding

By Jeff Hudson - December 16, 2010

Warning that the state budget deficit is “worse than I expected,” incoming Gov. Jerry Brown warned educators on Tuesday that further cuts in state funding for K-12 education are basically inevitable.

"I can't promise you there won't be more cuts, because there will be," Brown told an audience of some 200 educators at a “budget forum” gathering he convened at UCLA.

Brown said the state budget deficit – previously estimated at around $25 billion – is now looking more like $28 billion.  He declined to offer any specifics on where he would propose cuts, but suggested educators should “Please sit down if you're reading the stories on the (new proposal for the state) budget on January 10. If you're driving, fasten your seat belt, because it's going to be a rough ride.”

Brown indicated he wanted to complete legislative action on the budget he will propose in January within 60 days, saying, “I don't think we have a lot of time to waste.”

There are also indications that Brown may seek a spring special election, which could involve ballot propositions that could lead to increases in revenue for state government.

“Where I see openings that will pave the way for positive initiative, then I'm going to lead the charge," Brown said. "But I'd want to do it very carefully and very thoughtfully because I want to make sure we succeed.”

Brown also indicated that he feels the state’s present fiscal plight has been brought on by “Income redistribution that's occurred upward from the middle class and below (which) is now at a level comparable to pre-Depression 1920s.  So what we are facing is not only a budget deficit. We're facing a societal crisis, and we will only resolve it as we understand it and we work not only to exercise a discipline, which has been sadly lacking, but also a fairness that enables everybody to feel they have an honest stake in the whole society. That's the larger picture here.”

Brown is expected to hold more budget forums around the state in the weeks ahead.

Editor's Note:  Jeff Hudson is the editor of EdBrief and an award-winning education reporter and writer in print, radio and television media.