Last week, Sen. Dave Cogdill, R-Modesto, responded to questions from Bee and modbee.com readers about the state budget crunch. You can read more at http://
thehive.modbee.com/talkingtothetop. We are printing excerpts from his responses here.
Thank you to those of you who blogged about our education system. I know how important of an issue it is to you all and to me as well.
Quality education is a priority for Republicans, that's why yesterday (April 24) Assembly and Senate Republicans stood together to unveil our plan to ensure as much money as possible gets into the classroom.
Providing stable funding to our schools, as voters wanted when they approved Proposition 98, must go hand-in-hand with enacting common-sense reforms. This will allow local districts to put more dollars to the classroom -- without increasing spending or raising taxes. Democrats say we must impose billions in higher taxes to preserve funding for schools. We disagree. We know there are ways to get more money to the classroom without raising taxes.
Assembly and Senate Republicans have put forward our own education budget proposal to give schools the stability they need to plan for next year. It would ensure that Proposition 98 is fully funded as the voters have requested. Our plan embraces many of the reforms put forward by the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst and would give our schools more flexibility by freeing them from the handcuffs imposed upon them by Sacramento. Enacting these common-sense reforms will allow schools to stretch their dollars to the fullest so they can put even more dollars in the classroom.
By enacting our Republican education budget proposal, we can give districts funding certainty in a tough budget year, allowing them to rescind layoff notices and plan responsibly for next year.
On higher education
I am proud of California's world-renowned public universities and the economic benefits of our CSU and UC graduates. I understand the proposed cuts are difficult, but having the state spend more than it takes in also hurts our economy. That's why we need comprehensive reform to our budget system so that our public universities have a stable funding source. This reform will also ensure that we have a strong economy so that our students have a thriving work force to enter when they graduate.
As you know, the Citizens Compensation Commission was created to take salary making out of the hands of lawmakers. I support the commission. Additionally, since the Legislature has no control over this independent commission's actions, we can instead focus on achieving a budget that reflects the priorities of Californians. No matter what the commission decides will be acceptable for me.
... Thank you for your idea concerning a part-time Legislature. I greatly appreciate your input and agree that we need to shrink the size of government. Although I am skeptical of the ability to make the Legislature part-time, it sure would make my job easier since I spend most of my time fighting bad legislation. If the Legislature met less frequently, there would be less time for these bad bills to be promoted.