Published: Sunday, Mar. 6, 2011 – 12:00 am | Page 3A

Between Gov. Jerry Brown’s unusual appearance at a legislative hearing and the formation of an anti-tax caucus by 30 conservative lawmakers, the budget rhetoric has been flying. Kevin Yamamura of The Bee Capitol Bureau evaluates some of the statements:

Brown: “If you’re going to have $25 billion in cuts, and you’re going to cut four or five weeks of school, then I think people are very shocked if you didn’t ask their permission.”

Analysis: Cutting the school year by five or six weeks is highly unlikely.

K-12 schools could face a $4.5 billion reduction in funding if the taxes fall through, according to the Legislative Analyst’s Office. Each billion-dollar cut translates into one week of school, so that could be Brown’s interpretation.

Schools, however, have many ways other than cutting instruction to save money, such as raising the kindergarten age or increasing class size. Though many districts have cut the school year by as much as five days, teachers have fought such reductions, which translate into furloughs and lost instructional time.

Assemblywoman Diane Harkey, R-Dana Point (to Brown): “The only thing that you want ‘yes’ to, and the only thing the members on the other side of the aisle want ‘yes’ to – because they have a majority-party budget – is ‘yes’ to more taxes. And we can’t go there.”

Analysis: It’s true that Democrats can pass all of the cuts on their own under Proposition 25, a 2010 initiative that allows a majority of lawmakers to approve budget bills. It’s also generally true that Democrats need Republican votes only for the tax items in Brown’s plan.

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