Governor Jerry Brown's revised budget claims to preserve funding for education and public safety, but voters will have to help in November. The governor says voters must approve tax hikes or prepare for deep cuts.
The revised budget, released Monday, proposes a 16 percent increase in funding for K through 12 education. But, local educators say if voters don't approve tax increases in November, it will have a devastating effect on our children. Schools would be forced to make massive cuts, meaning bigger class sizes and less help in the classroom.
But, are local voters willing to pay higher taxes?
Governor Brown says tax increases are a must to help pull the Golden State out of debt or else schools and public safety will suffer.
"I used to work for the state and I saw a lot of waste, and I think they can cut things that way," said Carolyn Odien.
"They force you into having to approve these things just so you can watch out for your kids, your grandkids and so forth. But, I don't think it's fair. It's not right," said Diane Kirk.
"That's the trouble with the whole country. They just keep spending money and then when they need more, they want to raise taxes," said David Phillips.
Governor Brown's budget proposal is built around the expectation that voters will approve higher taxes in November. If voters don't approve the tax hikes, more than $5.5 billion would be slashed from K though 12 education and community colleges by January.
"It is devastating. It is unimaginable," said Mary Barlow, Assistant Superintendent of Finance, Kern County Superintendent of Schools.
The Kern County Superintendent of Schools Office says a cut of that magnitude is unheard of in Kern County. "We have re-prioritized the importance of education in the state of California," continued Barlow.
It would be the latest in a series of cutbacks for school districts across Kern County. "That means still higher class sizes, fewer support services for children, fewer services, and a reduction of school year by 15 days, which is again unprecedented," noted Barlow.
If voters don't approve tax hikes in November, the University of California and California State University systems would be cut by $250 million each.