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May 14, 2003

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Lark Park at (916) 651-4011


SACRAMENTO - Assemblyman Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto) announced today that the Governor has dropped his proposal to take $126 million in excess property taxes from basic aid school districts.

Simitian is sending letters to constituents who have written to him about the issue (see attachment). Simitian is available for comment, radio and television feed at the number above.

Dear Friend:

Good news and many thanks!

The good news is that the Governor has withdrawn his proposal to take local property tax revenue from “Basic Aid” school districts around the State.

The thanks go to you and others like you who so effectively expressed opposition to the proposal over the past four months. Your calls, letters, e-mails and rallies in opposition to the Governor’s January 10th budget proposal clearly made a difference. Thank you.

Here in the Capitol, my colleagues and I took a number of steps to protect our Basic Aid school districts:

  • More than 30 of my colleagues joined me in a letter to the Governor opposing the take-away of Basic Aid property tax revenue.
  • The Assembly’s Budget Subcommittee on Education Finance, which I chair, was persuaded to reject the Administration’s proposal by a 5-0 vote (with two members absent).
  • We removed the Basic Aid proposal from a multi-item “trailer bill,” and put the burden on the Administration to propose a piece of stand-alone legislation that could be weighed on its own merits.
  • And a series of one-on-one conversations with legislative leaders and members of the Governor’s staff helped to communicate the importance of this issue and the depth of our opposition.

These efforts, the actions of the State Senate, and the enormous public outcry (of which you were a part) all contributed to a successful effort to persuade the Administration to withdraw its original proposal.

That being said, the coming year will nevertheless be a tough one for school districts around the State — Basic Aid districts included.

The Governor’s “May Revise” budget proposal still calls for Basic Aid districts to lose their $120 per student basic aid entitlement (a loss most districts seem inclined to accept, given their continued ability to retain local property tax revenues). Moreover, Basic Aid districts will not be immune from additional budget reductions affecting other districts around the State.

Looking beyond the budget for the coming year, it’s clear we need a long-term strategy for dealing with the issue of Basic Aid funding. This is an issue that simply won’t go away at the end of this year’s budget process. For just that reason, I will continue to work with Basic Aid school districts to protect these funds in coming years.

For now, however, it really is a case of good news and many thanks. So thanks once again for your part in preserving quality education in our classrooms. And do stay in touch.


S. Joseph Simitian, Assemblymember
Twenty-First District


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