California’s state government has passed three disastrous budgets in less than a year: last week’s pillage followed agreements in February and last September that similarly robbed billions from social programs. Those earlier packages also included gifts to corporations in the form of giant new tax loopholes. So how can we stop this recurring nightmare? (I’m sure the question applies across the U.S. these days.) In my last (too-long) post, I put out some general ideas for moving forward. Today’s post will get into more detail about one major issue we need to confront: Proposition 13. In the next post I’ll look at other needed progressive tax reforms, and in the following post, give some thoughts on starting to build a fight back.
I promised to offer alternatives to CTA’s historic pattern of defeatism and accommodation (discussed in the previous post). So today I’ll list a few fairly general things I think CTA and its parent organization, the National Education Association (NEA), should do to pull out of this long downward spiral of political retreat and increasing weakness.
California’s Democratic legislature and Republican governor have just agreed to a budget dealing new, devastating blows to poor and working people and another gift to corporations and the rich. It delivers $9 billion in cuts to kindergarten-through-university public education, and eliminates billions more in services to the families of low-income students. All proposals to mitigate the damage with new taxes, including a modest tax on oil production, were dropped. So naturally the California Teachers Association went all out to lobby for the budget’s approval. And when it passed Friday, CTA thanked “our many members who have reached out to Legislators and the Governor to ensure education is not forgotten during the budget crisis.”
My posts on the National Education Association’s 2009 Representative Assembly have focused so far on a new business item I introduced calling for a national strike for full funding a corporate expense. I should note, though, that aside from the brief time it took to squash that motion, a few other things happened during the four days of meetings attended by 9000 delegates from all over the country.
I’m as willing to compromise as the next “wild-eyed” radical. (“Wild-eyed” is what anti-teachers union blogger Mike Antonucci called several motions Oakland delegates brought to this year’s NEA Representative Assembly in San Diego.)
So after the California delegation voted on July 3 to oppose my proposal for a two-day nationwide strike for fully funded public schools I considered some options.