How budgeting works in California, or why they are in the problem that they are
Dymally is one of California's most venerable political figures of the last century. He has been an assemblyman twice, as well as a state senator, one-term lieutenant governor and congressman. He tried for a second stint in the state Senate, only to lose the Democratic primary in 2008 to another former assemblyman, Rod Wright.
More recently, Dymally has hung his hat at the much-troubled, financially strapped Drew. He led a delegation of university officials a few weeks ago to plead with legislators to keep giving Drew money even though its residency program was kaput.
Dymally et al. even asked for an additional $4 million. The Assembly's budget committee acceded. The Senate's budget writers approved the $8.7 million figure, and the conference committee unanimously appropriated that amount this week without discussion.
It's the sort of action that makes the laments of Leno and others about a lack of funds ring hollow.
Appropriations should not be automatic entitlements but should have to prove their worth. Tax loopholes should meet the same standard of efficacy as well.
Giving Drew $8.7 million just because it's gotten the money in the past, or just because a former legislative colleague lobbied for it, doesn't wash in an era of multibillion-dollar deficits, wholesale slaughter of basic services, and wrangling over whether taxes should be raised, as Leno and other Democrats have advocated.
The $8.7 million may seem to be a drop in the budget bucket, but it would pay for 100 classroom teachers' jobs. . . .