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April 22, 2003

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SACRAMENTO – On a motion by Assemblymember Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto), the Assembly’s Budget Subcommittee on Education Finance has rejected the Davis Administration’s proposed taking of $126 million in property tax revenues from so-called Basic Aid school districts. Simitian, who chairs the Assembly’s Budget Subcommittee on Education Finance, called the 5 to 0 vote (with 2 members absent) to reject the proposal “good news for students on the Peninsula and in the South Bay.”

The Subcommittee’s action removes the proposal from the Assembly’s version of the budget.
In support of the motion, Simitian argued that, “the Administration’s proposal goes too far. It’s not a reduction of State support to 50-plus Basic Aid school districts; it’s a taking of local property tax revenues. At the risk of stating the obvious, the State can’t reduce funding it doesn’t provide.”

Simitian also argued that the cuts would be “devastating” to Basic Aid districts around the State with cuts of 10% or 50% required. He also noted that, “One irony of the Governor’s proposal is that, if implemented, more than half the Basic Aid districts around the State would become ‘low-wealth’ districts—and thus be eligible for State-funded equalization aid to raise per pupil funding.”

Simitian has been a vocal opponent to the taking of these funds since the Governor unveiled his budget proposal on January 10. Indeed, at Simitian’s urging, 31 of his Assembly colleagues signed a letter to the Governor asking him to withdraw his proposal.

“Today’s vote sends a clear message,” said Simitian. “My hope is that the Administration will withdraw its proposal when the Governor’s revised budget is released in mid-May. Local school districts have painful choices to make, including layoffs,” said Simitian. “I hope our Committee has been clear that cuts of this magnitude are simply unacceptable.”



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