Thursday, May 15, 2014

The 2014 May Revise - and A Short Version of the Budget Process

Tuesday, May 13, 2014, Governor Brown released the May Revise.  You can see it here.

The May Revise is the Governor's "take two" --  his revision of the Budget he proposed in January.  This revision comes after tax money has begun to come in and the Department of Finance has a better idea of how much money we do or don't have to spend.  Also, in the meantime, people and Legislators have thought about and talked about and given feedback about the first proposal.

The next step after the May Revise is more thinking and talking by people and Legislators.

That means folks like you and me need to think about and speak up about what we want. 

In other words, call your legislator.  Email your Legislator.  Visit your Legislator's district office or invite your Legislator to an invite in your community or at your school.  Legislators are real people.  So are their aides.  Some of them are real nice.   Most of them are real smart.  I highly recommend you get to know all of them.

The legislators listen to the people they represent and they talk with each other.

They also listen to and talk with lobbyists. Maybe it's a lobbyist for an organization you're a member of and an organization you support.  Maybe it's a lobbyist for an organization or business you really dislike, an organization or business with a ton of money, an organization or business with an agenda that will bring harm to the people of this great state.  That is something to think and learn about.

The Legislators decide what they like and don't like about the May Revise.  They make some revisions of their own.  Each house discusses and votes on things and they have to come to a final agreement between the two houses.  Then the whole thing goes to the Governor.  He then signs off on it or he vetoes it and sends it back to the Legislator for more changes. 

The deadline for this whole process is July 1, the start of the new fiscal year.

That veto power is his trump card.  It makes it scary for Legislators to go against him.  If they take a risk and say, "No!  We don't like this!  Do it this way!"... and then he vetoes it... and it has to go back to the Legislature for more talking and discussing and arguing and voting... well, then we all go over the deadline.  Which makes for a lot of problems.  And people on all sides being angry at the Legislators who spoke up and said, "No!  We don't like that!  Do it this way!"

So if a Legislator or Legislators don't like something, they have to be really smart about things.  Is it worth speaking up? If they speak up or make a change, how far can they go?  What will everyone agree on? 

It's a difficult and stressful process.  Just one of a million reasons I am not a Legislator. 

But it's a worthwhile process because otherwise we'd just have plain ol' tyranny or plain ol' bedlam, both of which cause a lot of suffering.

What makes the difference between not-tyranny-or-bedlam-but-still-pretty-awful and not-tyranny-or-bedlam-and-sometimes-pretty-good is our participation.

So get involved.

This blog is about Adult Education so of course that is always our focus here. But the budget is about many things.  If you care deeply about something - if you value it - consider what we should be spending on it.  There's a reason that we use the word "value" as a measurement of both money and esteem.

Then find out if the value in dollars and value in care matches up.  And if it doesn't, speak up.

It's work, I know.  But it's worth it.  It's the price we pay to get our needs met.

You can read more about the budget process here and from that same webpage is this cool flow chart:

It's impossible to understand, hunh?
I know.  I couldn't find a chart to insert here that you could read.
Just like in real life, to really to understand the budget and the budget process, you have to dig deeper.
So go to this page and then click on the flow chart link at the bottom to see a nice big chart you can understand.

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