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State’s Budget Woes Take Center Stage In Silicon Valley

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Senator Mark Leno (dist03.casen.govoffice.com)

Senator Mark Leno (dist03.casen.govoffice.com)

MOUNTAIN VIEW (KCBS) – Some of California’s top business and education leaders planned to gather in Silicon Valley Friday morning to talk about the impact of state budget cuts on schools.

“The Economic and Business Impacts of Education Budget Cuts” hearing was scheduled to begin at 10:00 a.m. at Microsoft’s sprawling Mountain View campus.

Among those scheduled to testify at the state Senate budget and fiscal review committee public hearing: UC president Mark Yudof and Silicon Valley executive Kim Karin Polese.

KCBS’ Matt Bigler Reports:

Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), chair of the budget committee, made clear it was no accident the hearing was taking place in Silicon Valley.

“To hear from business leaders as to the critical importance of not cutting any deeper into our higher education system, given that it is our economic engine,” he explained the goal of Friday’s gathering.

He made clear ahead of time that he had a plan to lay out his case that the state’s economy and higher education are inextricably linked.

“Though we are currently the eighth largest economy in the world, it is specifically because in earlier generations we taxed ourselves and invested those tax dollars to create what, at the time, was literally the best public education system the world had ever seen or imagined,” he told KCBS. “That is not the case any longer.”

He warned that without a budget compromise in Sacramento, there would be excruciatingly deep cuts to public schools and colleges.

“I’m hoping that reasonable minds will prevail so that we can do both, make these reforms and extend current tax rates.”

GOP leaders have demanded regulatory and pension reforms in exchange for tax extensions.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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