Smart? Not really / Prison, higher ed funding link is dubious.

Excerpt from: San Diego Union Tribune Friday, January 8, 2010

Full article at:

There is an undeniable surface appeal to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s proposal to reverse the long-term trends that have resulted in the state spending much more on its prisons than on the University of California and California State University systems. “The priorities have become out of whack,” Schwarzenegger declared in his State of the State address. “Thirty years ago, 10 percent of the general fund went to higher education and 3 percent went to prisons. Today, almost 11 percent goes to prisons and only 7.5 percent goes to higher education.”

The governor urged adoption of a state constitutional amendment that, by 2014-15, would prohibit prison spending from exceeding 7 percent of the general fund and would bar higher education spending from dropping below 10 percent. Voters would have to approve such an amendment, whether it was put on the ballot by an initiative petition initiative or by the Legislature.

Alas, the harder one looks at this proposal, the more reasons to question it emerge.

If enacted, it would be one more example of the ballot-box budgeting that makes it so difficult for governors and Legislatures to make ends meet – even if its language would make it easier to suspend without future payback requirements …

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