SacBee: Rapid Response Roundup: Jerry Brown's proposed budget

January 10, 2013

Rapid Response Roundup: Jerry Brown's proposed budget

It didn't take long for California's lawmakers, officials and advocates to start issuing statements responding to the budget proposal that Gov. Jerry Brown released this morning.

You'll find them after the jump. We'll be adding statements as they come in.

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento:

"(The governor) is right when he says fiscal discipline is not the enemy of democratic governance. I would add a little addendum to that, which is that fiscal discipline is not the enemy of governance by California Democrats. ... This is the beginning of an era where we have a real ability, without the heavy weight of exhausting budget deficits, to focus on big policy changes."

Senate Republican leader Bob Huff, R-Diamond Bar:

"New funding to our classrooms is a positive step forward for California. However, the Governor's budget only seems to include $2.7 million billion in new funding for K-12 schools and community colleges even though Proposition 30 taxes will generate $6 billion this year alone -- Californians should be disappointed. I remain concerned that while state spending is being increased by $5 billion over last year, much of this money is used to expand state programs and provides major pay and benefit increases for state employees. Basically, this budget is balanced by a $50 billion tax increase, and Californians have yet to see any real, long-term plan to bring back jobs and help our struggling families." (Correction made by Huff's office at 1 p.m.)

Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez, D-Los Angeles:

"This is a proposal that clearly shows California has turned the corner. The Governor's budget is sober, restrained and forward thinking, and I believe it's a solid foundation for the budget process. I am looking forward to thorough and insightful public hearings as we work with the Governor to adopt the final budget by our Constitutional deadline."

Assembly Republican Leader Connie Conway of Tulare:

"Like Governor Brown, Assembly Republicans believe that K-12 and higher education must be top budget priorities this year. In November, the voters made it clear that they wanted to protect our classrooms. To uphold this important promise to parents, students and taxpayers, Republicans have proposed legislation to ensure that this revenue goes to boost higher education funding and prevent tuition and fee increases at our public colleges and universities - just as the voters intended.

"It is good news for taxpayers that the state has made progress in getting our financial house in order. But we haven't fully solved our budget problems just yet. Assembly Republicans agree with the Governor that a 'live within our means' budget is the most fiscally-responsible course for our state this year. Now is not the time to enact massive spending increases that will reverse the progress we've made in reducing the deficit."

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom:

"Today's 2013-2014 budget proposal is a welcome relief from recent years. Governor Jerry Brown's commitment to sustainable balance and surpluses is evident in a budget that invests in our priorities. Brown demonstrates that with the $250 million down payment to the University of California and California State University. Additionally, the commitment of $26.9 million to bring public higher education into the 21st Century by making high-demand courses available online aligns with my long-stated goals as a UC Regent and CSU Trustee. California has returned to a fiscal surplus and we have the voters to thank. Now we must resolve to better stewardship of the people's resources and continue investing in California again."

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson:

"The Governor's budget proposal keeps the promise we made to Californians who supported Proposition 30, and wisely begins to restore some of what our schools have lost. It will take years to bring our education system back to financial health, and I applaud the Governor for beginning that work in earnest.

"I do believe, however, that early education programs -- cut deeply in recent years --deserve to share in this recovery as well. They are among our best investments in the future of California's children.

"I look forward to working with our community college partners regarding the future of adult education. I am concerned that severing the longstanding ties these programs have with K-12 districts could diminish access to classes that play a vital role in helping Californians receive the basic education they need to become productive citizens.

"I admire the Governor's determination to move forward with an overhaul of California's confusing system of school finance, and I share his desire to direct more help to students and schools with the greatest needs. At the same time, I remain concerned about the fragile fiscal state of so many school districts and preserving state priorities. I look forward to examining details of the Governor's proposal and working closely with the education community throughout this challenging process."

Attorney General Kamala Harris:

"Today Governor Brown proposed a balanced budget that avoids the deep cuts the state has suffered for many years. Voters placed their trust in state government by approving Proposition 30, and it is important that their trust is honored and their money is spent wisely. This includes smart investments that benefit Californians, such as restoring funding for the state's prescription-drug monitoring program and support for law enforcement programs that reduce the number of illegal firearms on our streets. It also means sending resources to our schools in a way that ensures all children, especially those in our poorest communities, receive a quality education."

Sen. Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles:

"By directing all the clean energy dollars received from the voters' overwhelming passage of Proposition 39 to school retrofits, the governor has made it clear that this is best way to achieve energy savings while maximizing job creation and helping our students. I look forward to working with the Governor this year to make sure we don't dilute this great opportunity. Our kids' health, our state's unemployed workers, and our environment deserve this smart investment."

Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco:

"The budget proposal released today by Governor Brown is the most positive one we have seen in half a decade. The budget is narrowly balanced and contains elements that ensure a modest reserve. However, it reflects the difficult cuts and decisions the Legislature and governor have made in the past few years to address the state's structural budget deficit. It also demonstrates the confidence entrusted in us by voters in November who recognized that our fiscal situation was untenable without new temporary revenues. Although we are still under fiscal constraints, I am hopeful we are now past the period of devastating cuts we saw in previous years to education and programs that provide critical aid to elderly Californians, disabled people and working families.

"With the improvement of our fiscal outlook comes the opportunity to continue our work to restore California. While our recent efforts have focused largely on making cuts in the least harmful manner possible, we will now have more capacity to refine our work to improve essential programs and analyze the role of government and its effectiveness. I look forward to working with Governor Brown and my colleagues in the Legislature to evaluate this year's budget to help ensure it is the best possible plan for a state on the mend."

Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco:

"I am very pleased to see that California has finally eliminated our structural deficit. No longer are we facing a state budget with severe cuts to our schools and social services. Instead, the Governor has put forward a balanced budget that increases funding for K-12 education, can prevent tuition hikes at UC, CSU and community colleges, and implements federal health care reform. Now it is imperative the Legislature approves a budget that addresses the needs of our students, working families, seniors, and the most vulnerable, and helps ensure we continue on a healthy path to economic recovery."

Sen. Lou Correa, D-Santa Ana:

"In these difficult financial times, it is more important than ever that we dedicate scarce state resources in the most efficient and effective manner. I applaud the governor's initiative to invest in education, including higher education, and provide vitally needed funds to expand access to health care.

"While there are signs of economic improvement in many sectors of our economy, we have more work to do. I remain deeply concerned that many California businesses will continue to struggle under our state's fragile economic environment. Despite these challenges, I look forward to working with the Governor to enact necessary reforms to stimulate business investments and expand job opportunities."

Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens:

"I am encouraged by Governor Brown's decision to prioritize education in this year's budget. It is only through the educating and training of our future workforce that California will truly be successful. I look forward to working with colleagues in the legislature to ensure that our most vulnerable communities have all of the resources they need to thrive; including good health care, a quality education, and jobs."

Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord:

"Governor Brown's announcement today of a budget with a surplus and increases in public education spending is a welcome sign of our state's improving fiscal status. I have seen firsthand as Democratic legislators have voted to make tough cuts to restore fiscal order. With our budget deficit closed, it is time to begin reinvesting in the most vital programs in our state, paying down our debt, and continuing to rebuild a stronger post-recession California. As we begin to pay down our debt and reinvest in critical programs, we must do so in a strategic and thoughtful manner. Governmental oversight and keeping a vigilant eye on spending must remain top priorities. I agree with the governor's view that 2013 should be a year of fiscal discipline and living within our means."

Sen. Anthony Cannella, R-Ceres:

"The budget Governor Brown presented today provides an appropriate base for this year's budget. I am pleased that the Governor understands the need to continue to rein in spending, especially as revenues climb, in order to finally tackle our 'wall of debt.' I am also in favor of looking at a new approach to school funding and am interested in examining his proposal. I agree that we should place greater emphasis on local control, so each community can best address their needs."

Sen. Bill Emmerson, R-Hemet, vice chairman of the Senate Budget Committee:

"Governor Brown is right. We must keep the brakes on and live within our means. He is also right that Democrats are going to have a hard time saying no to new spending and only time will tell if the supermajority will have the fortitude to do so.

"In terms of the budget presented today, I'm disappointed that only $2.7 of more than $6 billion provided by Proposition 30 is going to K-12 education and community colleges."

Sen. Tom Berryhill, R-Modesto:

"California isn't out of the woods yet, so I am glad to hear the governor is committed to keeping a tight leash on spending. At a glance I like the concept of eliminating education categoricals and sending money directly to classrooms but as we all know, the devil is in the details. Central Valley communities have been particularly hard hit by prisoner realignment so I remain concerned about how he plans on addressing that in the budget."

Sen. Jean Fuller, R-Bakersfield:

"The governor embraced a balanced budget proposal today. That echoes the message many of us have repeatedly made over the years, especially when the state faced massive deficits. However, I urge everyone to remain cautious and vigilant. The systemic problems that caused budget imbalances remain. The budget still consists of unsustainable spending for services. And we still haven't seen promised reforms to regulations, like CEQA, that hinder the state's economic growth."

Assemblywoman Nora Campos, D-San Jose:

"It's a relief to be able to think about restoring some services instead of cutting them. Our number one priority this year is to continue California's economic recovery and ensure the budget supports that.

"In my district, people want to feel safe again. Last year, San Jose was shaken by 46 homicides - the largest number in 20 years, while the city's police force shrunk by a third. Six days into the year we already encountered our first homicide. We must stop this death march. As a member of the Budget Committee, I will look to see where there's flexibility in state programs so that we can bring resources home to the neighborhoods in San Jose that need them.

"I also want to make sure the State will focus this year on nurturing technology and eliminating unnecessary regulatory mazes, on renewing our commitment to education including career training, and on implementing affordable health care in a meaningful way."

Assemblywoman Mariko Yamada, D-Davis:

"Governor Brown's common sense budget signals continued restraint and prioritizes repayment and reinvestment in education as the pathway to a brighter future. At the same time, we must not forget those at the other end of the age spectrum -- the elderly and those with disabilities -- those lifelong sacrifices and contributions have made the down payment on our Golden State. We are in an aging society and the cumulative effects of program cuts to services serving impoverished seniors and disabled adults must be integral to the budget discussion."

Assemblyman Jose Medina, D-Riverside:

"The Governor's budget plan reflects the fact that while California's economy is on the mend, we still face a year of difficult choices. As Chair of the Jobs, Economic Development, and the Economy Committee, I am committed to looking at ways to promote job creation in the state and avoid cuts that will hurt our recovery.

"As a former teacher and member of the Higher Education Committee, I am proud to see revenue increases being dedicated to education. The Governor's plan proposes new regulations for enterprise zones, and I am open to looking closely at the issue and making sure it receives a full vetting process.

"I am looking forward to working with the Governor and my colleagues to produce an on-time budget that reflects the values of my district and California by our June 15th deadline."

Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley:

"After several years of crippling budget shortfalls, California is now on its way to reaching fiscal health. Thanks to California voters' support of Proposition 30, this budget begins to reverse the devastating cuts experienced by our K-12 schools. Community Colleges, UC, and CSU would also see significant increases. I am pleased the Governor has prioritized using funds from Proposition 39, in a way that mirrors my legislation AB 39, so we fund energy efficiency and renewable energy for classrooms and help our schools cut the cost of their utility bills. The Governor's proposed budget will put California on solid ground to invest in education, increase jobs and contribute to a growing economy. I look forward to the Legislature's thorough review of the details in the months ahead."

Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, D-Concord:

"This is the 'live within our means' budget proposal that Governor Brown has promised, and I applaud and support the general direction the governor is taking: focusing on the core functions of government; increasing funding for K-12 education while providing flexibility for local school districts; and stronger investment in higher education and financial support for needy students. With surpluses forecast for the next four years, this budget is a good step towards reducing our debt to education and putting California's fiscal house in order."

Assemblyman Rich Gordon, D-Menlo Park:

"Today we truly see that California is on the mend with 2013 being the first post-recession year that California will not experience a budget deficit. The governor is correct in his words and actions that while this year's budget shows signs of hope, we must continue to act with fiscal prudence. I commend the governor on taking action in paying down the state's debt and adding revenues to reserves. This is sound fiscal management that will only ensure financial security for future generations and future Californians."

Assemblyman Roger Dickinson, D-Sacramento:

"The governor's budget proposal is a sign that the tide is turning and we are on our way to a more manageable fiscal future. ... Nonetheless, I have a deep concern over our state judicial branch's ever-shrinking budget, and the impact it is having on Californians' access to justice. The governor proposes to shift $200 million of the courts' remaining reserve funds into the general fund at the end of the fiscal year, and replace it with $200 million in court construction funds. This will create dire consequences for courts' ability to serve the people of our state."

Assemblyman Marc Levine, D-San Rafael:

"This proposal respects the commitment of the voters who approved Proposition 30 in November. For the first time in several years, California is looking forward toward a responsible sustainable state budget that reflects California's economic growth and investment of Proposition 30 revenues. This proposal serves as a good starting point for the discussions that will occur over the next several weeks as the Legislature deliberates California's 2013-14 spending plan."

Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco:

"The governor's budget is always a starting point, and we're glad that the starting point reflects a state that is fiscally healthier. It's also good to have the governor recognize that education is important and deserves better funding. But I'm concerned that we're still balancing the budget by maintaining cuts to health and social service programs for the people who need it the most.

"The programs suffering new or ongoing cuts include: AIDS Drug Assistance, ongoing cuts to CalWORKS and reductions related to IHSS and Medi-Cal. Prisons, meanwhile, continue to receive a high level of funding.

"On the revenue side, the governor is still leaving out two good possibilities for increasing revenue that would ease things on the state and local level. One is reform to the rules used to implement Prop. 13. We can bring in more by closing the assessment loopholes used by big corporations. The second is a tax on oil extraction. California's oil industry can do more to support the state that enables its huge profits.

"We're glad there isn't a lot of new blood, but I continue to hope for better budgets for people in need."

Assemblyman Jeff Gorell, R-Camarillo, vice chairman of the Assembly Budget Committee:

"Governor Brown today proposed a realistic budget framework for California. Assembly Republicans intend to be fully engaged in crafting this year's budget, offering our common-sense ideas and ensuring the people's voices are heard throughout the process. We look forward to working across the aisle with the Governor and our Democratic colleagues to enact vital budget reforms such as securing Proposition 30 dollars for higher education, while giving taxpayers the on-time, transparent, and honest balanced budget they deserve.

"I was also pleased to see the Governor expects a tuition freeze consistent with his advocacy for Proposition 30. I hope the Governor would support our efforts to pass AB 67, a statutory guarantee to freeze tuition for Californians for the next seven years, the same time Proposition 30 is in effect."

Assemblyman Brian Jones, R-Santee:

"Republicans have been talking about the need for fiscal restraint in California for years, and I am very encouraged that Governor Brown is focusing on this now, but Californians should watch closely what will unfold in the months to come. The Proposition 30 campaign promised voters their tax dollars would be used to fully fund education, but there is absolutely no guarantee that this will happen and I will work to make sure the intent of the voters is not ignored. ... Republicans are not going to sit on the sidelines while Democrats mismanage the state's finances by overspending and overtaxing."

Assemblyman Brian Dahle, R-Bieber:

"The devil's in the details, but ... the main thing that I really liked ... was that (the governor) is willing to live within their means. That's something that as Republicans we've asked for all along."

Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen, R-Modesto:

"I am encouraged by Governor Brown's commitment to use fiscal restraint in his budget plan, which includes prioritizing education funding and reducing debt. The concept of 'living within our means' has been a core part of my own and my Republican colleagues' approach to improve our economy for many years, and I believe sticking to this strategy will ultimately benefit all Californians.

"The Legislature should heed the Governor's message and commit to using Prop 30 revenues for education, instead of using common budget gimmicks that re-route funding to other programs. I encourage the Democrat majority to work with Republicans and give us the opportunity to engage in budget discussions well in advance of any voting, which would go a long way in proving they are truly interested in the well-being of the entire state and providing the bipartisan leadership Californians deserve."

Board of Equalization Member George Runner:

"I commend the Governor for championing fiscal discipline, which is a foreign concept to most Democrats in the Legislature. The Governor has his work cut out for him. However, I'm disappointed that we've heard virtually nothing from the Governor about spurring job creation and economic growth. California's budget challenges will not be solved by higher taxes, which only serve to chase investment and jobs out of our state and make revenues more volatile. If the Governor and Legislature want to ensure California's solvency, they need to help the private sector succeed in our state. That means fewer taxes and regulations, not more. California's unemployment rate is still too high. We need more jobs."

Board of Equalization Vice Chair Michelle Steel:

"Governor Brown outlined a budget plan today that relies on using the same old accounting gimmicks of delaying state payments to special funds and projecting overly optimistic revenues from shuttered redevelopment programs and corporate taxes. In order for our state finances to stand on solid ground, policymakers must take an honest stand against budget gimmickry and free Californians from the burdens of overregulation and oppressive taxes that are crushing jobs, growth, and innovation."

California Republican Party Chairman Tom Del Beccaro:

"It's easy for Gov. Brown to tout austerity and fiscal restraint when he has more of the taxpayers' money in his pocket. His challenge will be to follow through on those promises when the economy continues to stagnate and the Democrats' pie-in-the-sky projections don't come to pass. That's why Republican legislative leadership correctly proposed this week for the Governor to mandate that his new Prop 30 taxes fund our classrooms and protect our communities.

"What's disappointing about Gov. Brown's announcement is that job creation was never mentioned. Cutting the regulatory burden was ignored. Working with Republicans to unify the state is sadly not part of his agenda. In order for California to finally emerge from its economic doldrums and enter a new Golden Age, the answer lies with policies that encourage job growth and unleash the innovation of small business owners, not with budget wrangling and deferred payments that mask billions in debt to the federal government for unemployment insurance and more.

"We need bold reforms to go hand in hand with accountability and responsible fiscal governance if we want to return California and its citizens to prosperity. If Jerry Brown thinks we're out of the woods just because, on paper, we'll finally be 'living within our means,' he's sadly mistaken."

Ann Notthoff, California advocacy director at the Natural Resources Defense Council:

"Governor Brown set the stage today to put state dollars to work for clean energy and a healthy environment that will benefit millions of Californians. It's good to see that the governor is focused on building on California's environmental leadership rather than falling back to the past as industrial polluters and large scale developers keep pushing for."

Art Pulaski, California Labor Federation executive secretary-treasurer:

"The Governor's budget reflects the progress our state is making toward economic recovery. For the first time in years, California isn't starting out the year awash in red ink. As a result of the Governor's leadership and the passage of Prop 30, our state is finally in a position to move forward by making the necessary investments to rebuild our economy."

California Community Colleges Chancellor Brice W. Harris:

"Governor Brown's leadership in passing Proposition 30 means California community colleges can begin to make room for some of the hundreds of thousands of students who have been shut out of our system due to recent funding cuts," Harris said. "This budget represents a good start toward financial recovery for our system. The governor and voters deserve credit for beginning this overdue reinvestment."

Rick Jacobs, founder and chairman of Courage Campaign:

"Today the governor released a budget that just last year would not have seemed possible. Instead of massive cuts in education, the governor has proposed investing in education at nearly every level. This is only possible because of the work of progressives throughout the state that helped Prop. 30 pass in November. Now, with a supermajority in the Legislature and the voters behind him, the governor must follow through on these promises. We, and voters throughout the state, will be watching. We still need a permanent fix to the revenue question and massive investment in infrastructure, transportation, health care and environmental protections, but let's pause and celebrate because this is a good day. The passage of Prop 30, and this budget, are models for other states and the federal government. When the wealthiest among us are asked to pay their fair share we all prosper."

Jim Wunderman, Bay Area Council president and CEO:

"With this budget, California appears to be moving in the right direction. The big news is that for the first time in a long time, California isn't staring at a massive deficit. Governor Brown deserves great credit for restoring a measure of fiscal stability to California's budget. But we still have considerable challenges ahead in restoring California's long-term economic health and reversing our reputation as a difficult place to do business. The calls for fiscal discipline and living within our means are encouraging, but only if it means we don't have a repeat performance of Prop. 30. As the budget now moves to the Legislature, the Bay Area Council will be working hard to ensure our elected leaders understand the definition of fiscal discipline."

Diana Zuñiga, field organizer for Californians United for a Responsible Budget:

"If the governor believes that 'we can't pour more and more dollars down the rat hole of incarceration,' then why is he increasing spending on corrections, planning for more prisoners rather than fewer and defying the demands of the federal court and the voters to further shrink the prison system?"

Carol Kocivar, president of California State PTA:

"After years of horrible budget cuts to public education, we are pleased that cuts to schools are not part of the conversation this year. ... There are many specific details to study in the governor's proposal, and much discussion and input that will need to take place, but we are confident this is a year when positive changes to the school funding distribution system can be achieved. We look forward to analyzing the proposal more closely and ensuring that parents have an important voice in the legislative deliberations."

Dean E. Vogel, California Teachers Association president:

"On a day when it was announced by an Education Week report that California has dropped two spots to now rank 49th in per-student funding, it's good to see a state budget proposal that begins to turn the tide. ... CTA is interested to hear more about the proposed new school funding formula and will review all details. We certainly appreciate the recognition that it costs more money to educate students with higher needs, but there are currently many unknowns in this plan."

Categories: Gov. Jerry Brown, State budget
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