27 Legislators Channel Wayne Morse

Wayne Morse was one of only two US Senators to vote against the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution in 1964 expanding military action in Vietnam. It takes guts to oppose party leadership. This week California saw similar courage when nearly a third of Democratic members of the California Legislature called for budget reserves greater than those proposed by the governor and legislative leadership. The letters are linked here and here.

As of now, schools and the state are planning to reserve just a fraction of the amounts needed to protect classrooms and programs in the event of a market decline no greater than 2001 or 2008*. Given huge federal pandemic support, there has never been a better time to save the state’s own resources.

*Just a forecasted decline is sufficient to crush classrooms and programs. Eg, in the June 2020 budget that was based on reduced revenues forecast to result from the pandemic, reserves provided only 16 percent of a draconian solution that otherwise cut, deferred and borrowed even after large federal assistance. Fortunately, the stock market and tax revenues more than recovered.