Assembly Republican Leader Connie Conway announced this week that more than $2.5 billion in new revenues are available to fully fund education under Proposition 98 without raising taxes. Given these new revenues, local educators and Assembly Republicans have called upon the legislature to fully fund education in the 2011-12 budget. Prior to deployment, Assembly Member Jeff Gorell pushed for full funding of Proposition 98 on several occasions.
While the budgeting process in Sacramento doesn’t require state agencies to prioritize their spending needs, the vast majority of Californians consider the funding of K-12 education and law enforcement to be the top priorities of state government.
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“These new revenues make it clear that Assembly Member Gorell’s goal of fully funding education at Proposition 98 levels is possible,” stated Ventura County Board of Education Trustee Dean Kunicki.
“Legislators in Sacramento need to stop playing the blame game and commit to fully funding our educational needs,” said Ron LaGuardia, President of the Moorpark Unified School District Board of Education. “In his absence, educators must speak loud and clear supporting Gorell’s commitment to Prop 98 and education.”
The California’s chief budget analyst has previously calculated that the level of K-12 education funding under Proposition 98 should be approximately $43.8 billion for 2011-12. Of that amount, $32.4 billion would come directly from the state’s General Fund. These minimum numbers are expected to change next week with Governor Brown’s May budget revision, but the guarantees can only be suspended by a 2/3 vote of the legislature.
Before being called back to active duty by the Navy in March, Gorell introduced a number of bills designed to deal with the current budget crisis, including bills to implement priority based budgeting among state agencies, to consolidate state taxing agencies, and a bill to fully fund law enforcement without new taxes. He has been steadfast in his assertion that there are adequate revenues to fully fund education and law enforcement.
A third generation naval officer, Assembly Member Jeff Gorell was called back to active duty by the U.S. Navy on March 18th for deployment to Afghanistan. He currently holds the rank of Lt. Commander with the Navy (Reserve) as an intelligence officer and has previously served a tour of duty in Afghanistan shortly after the events of 9/11.