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  • Author: David Wells
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: California Journal of Politics and Policy
  • Institution: Institute of Governmental Studies, UC Berkeley
  • Abstract: The FY2019 budget saw the country’s largest movement of teachers descend on the state capital and force Governor Doug Ducey to scramble to save his re-election prospects. Gradually growing through social media, the #RedforEd movement culminated with 50,000 teachers and supporters walking out of classrooms and descending onto the Capitol grounds. Gov. Ducey deftly rose to the occasion from his initial one percent raise to a 20 percent raise by FY2021 before the walkout commenced, moving the pressure to legislators to seal the deal, which they did on May 3, 2018. Stronger revenue growth than prior years enabled the governor and Legislature to find the necessary funds.
  • Topic: Education, Fiscal Policy, State Funding
  • Political Geography: United States, Arizona
  • Author: Brian DiSarro, Wesley Hussey
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: California Journal of Politics and Policy
  • Institution: Institute of Governmental Studies, UC Berkeley
  • Abstract: California passed a 2018‒2019 budget with record budget surpluses as the state attention shifted to the upcoming 2018 election. This was Jerry Brown’s final budget after sixteen years as governor, a state record. Brown was concerned the state’s volatile income tax revenues might not hold up during a future recession and wanted to store as much of the surplus away in the state’s emergency “rainy-day” fund. Continuing the annual pattern, Democratic legislators wanted to spend some of the surplus on social services, including the increasing problems of homelessness and affordable housing. In addition, legislators began to address the long-ignored problem of sexual harassment in the capitol and was on the front line of the #MeToo movement, leading several legislators to resign. Democrats did well in the November elections, leading to an even bluer California.
  • Topic: Governance, Budget, State Funding
  • Political Geography: United States, California
  • Author: Colin D. Moore
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: California Journal of Politics and Policy
  • Institution: Institute of Governmental Studies, UC Berkeley
  • Abstract: Hawaii adopted a state budget that authorizes $14.3 billion in spending for FY2019. The Aloha State’s economy continues to benefit from record-breaking tourist numbers and robust federal military spending. Although the state’s unemployment rate is among the lowest ever recorded for any state in the nation, the cost of housing has made it increasingly difficult for working families to purchase a home. Tax revenues are strong, but they remain very dependent on the tourism industry. Hawaii also faces huge liabilities for pension and health care payments that are promised to retired state employees.
  • Topic: Governance, Health Care Policy, Budget, State Funding
  • Political Geography: United States, California
  • Author: John Aubrey Douglass, Patrick A. Lapid
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: California Journal of Politics and Policy
  • Institution: Institute of Governmental Studies, UC Berkeley
  • Abstract: In an environment of declining public funding and rising tuition rates, many public universities in the US are moving toward a “progressive tuition model” that attempts to invest approximately one-third of tuition income into institutional financial aid for lower-income and middle-class students. The objective is to mitigate the cost of rising tuition and keep college affordable. But is this model as currently formulated working? Utilizing data from the Student Experience in the Research University (SERU) Survey of undergraduates and other data sources, this study explores these issues by focusing on students at the University of California (UC) and 10 research-intensive public institutions that are members of the SERU Consortium. Focusing mostly on survey data from 2014, we find that increases in tuition, and costs related to housing and other living expenses, have not had a significant negative impact on the number of lower-income students attending UC or on their behaviors. Since the onset of the Great Recession, there has been an actual increase in their number—a counterintuitive finding to the general perception that higher tuition equals less access for the economically vulnerable. At the same time, there is evidence of a “middle-class” squeeze, with a marginal drop in the number of students from this economic class. With these and other nuances and caveats discussed in this study, the progressive tuition model appears to have worked in terms of affordability and with only moderate indicators of increased financial stress and changed student behaviors. This study indicates that tuition can and should be a part of the search for a viable funding model for many public universities, like UC, and that demanding lower or no tuition does not appear to be based on any substantial analysis of the correlation of tuition and affordability.
  • Topic: Education, Economic Policy, Higher Education, State Funding
  • Political Geography: United States, California
  • Author: Gian-Claudia Sciara, Amy E. Lee
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: California Journal of Politics and Policy
  • Institution: Institute of Governmental Studies, UC Berkeley
  • Abstract: California has established itself as a leader in efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation. However, the state has not reflected its ambitious policies for greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction and climate action in its practices for allocating state transportation funding. This paper reviews the complex systems through which California generates and allocates state revenue for transportation investment. It finds that the state’s framework for funding transportation projects and programs is disconnected from its GHG goals, reflective more of historical political deals than of contemporary climate policy. The paper also suggests preliminary steps for revising this framework to reinforce GHG reduction goals. Such recommendations are particularly salient given the state’s recently completed study of road user charges as an alternative transportation revenue source, as well as the passage of new legislation that restructures the state’s fuel taxes (Senate Bill 1, 2017). Implementation of road charges or any other new or revised transportation revenue source would need to address the disposition of revenues generated. This paper argues that California should use any such opportunity to align the distribution of state transportation dollars with its climate objectives, not fall back on status quo allocation practices.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Governance, Tax Systems, Economic Policy, State Funding
  • Political Geography: United States, California