To say we are disappointed in the 2020–21 budget passed on Friday by the State Legislature would be an understatement. It’s bad enough they did not use this moment to reform retirement spending that’s unnecessarily draining $25 billion per year from schools and state services and billions more from local services. Even worse was to include non-budgetary matters in the budget but leave off the table the elimination of Last In, First Out (LIFO) layoffs of teachers, especially for districts that struggle to recruit quality teachers.
We know that at least a majority of legislators do not wish to keep bowing to the pressures of special interests. Our job is to help liberate them from those pressures so they can serve the general interest. We have made progress but clearly not enough to allay their fears of public employee unions in particular. We will keep at it but in the meantime, we certainly do not share the view that the federal government should cover up mistakes of the state’s own making. A huge portion of California’s fiscal distress is a self-inflicted wound that the state legislature has the power to address.