Dan Walters

Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
Published: Friday, Apr. 19, 2013 – 12:00 am | Page 3A

Jerry Brown spent the first two years of his second governorship dealing with a chronic budget crisis and finally persuaded voters to raise sales and income taxes to narrow the budget gap.

It’s debatable whether Brown has truly resolved California’s fiscal woes, since the budget is “balanced” only by ignoring several major issues, such as an immense deficit in the teachers pension fund and mounting costs for retiree health care.

Moreover, the new taxes are temporary, while the tax ballot measure, Proposition 30, included a permanent, $5 billion-plus annual commitment to counties. Thus, Brown may leave behind a new budget problem if and when he finishes his last term in 2019.

For the moment, however, Brown has declared victory on the budget and moved on to other items on his agenda, most prominently – if one believes his State of the State speech – overhauling school finance and reforming the California Environmental Quality Act.

Brown made his education case “for cutting categorical programs and putting maximum authority and discretion back at the local level,” plus giving more money to districts with large numbers of poor and “English-learner” students.

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