We're gathering reactions to the governor's budget proposal after the jump. Got a statement? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
More budget coverage:
Sen. Bob Huff
"The Governor and Legislature must have the resolve to open the doors and scrutinize every area of government. Essential to a strong economy is an efficient state government. We must be taking clear steps to protect our citizens from the excesses of unrestrained government. ... I will not support any segment of a budget plan that raises taxes, in any way, shape or form. The Governor says his budget plan does not raise taxes, but a suspension of already scheduled corporate tax breaks has the same negative effect on the economy. California's citizens are struggling to put food on their table and businesses are finding it difficult to keep their doors open. We cannot continue looking to them for additional revenue. The consequences would be devastating."
Sen. George Runner
"The Governor is on the right track by looking inward for solutions to California's budget problems instead of going after the wallets of already-burdened taxpayers. I especially support the Governor's proposal to remove the federal receiver - whose presence in state affairs is unconstitutional - from our prison system to help lower prison costs. These internal decisions will be difficult to put into play, but with the state facing a $20 billion deficit living within our means is critical and every program deserves scrutiny. It's time for the Legislature and the Governor to roll up our sleeves and make sure taxpayers are receiving the best value for the money they send to Sacramento."
Sen. Gil Cedillo
"Yesterday the Governor spoke of team work and the spirit of collaboration. Today he unveiled a budget which holds the most vulnerable in our state hostage for federal monies. The Governor continues to place the burden of resolving our fiscal crisis on students, the elderly, those facing health challenges, and working families. We will not achieve California's full economic potential if we constantly cut ourselves short in education, health services, transportation and other vital services. A true recovery can only happen if we strategically invest in programs that build a competitive workforce and healthy communities."
Sen. Lois Wolk:
"The size of this problem should make it clear to everyone that this requires all hands on deck and all eyes focused solely on fixing this budget deficit and reforming our budget process to prevent this from reoccurring.We should stop the bill mill and instead engage all 120 legislators with the administration in the most thorough review ever conducted of every program and expenditure. It may be too big to do it all in one year, but we need to start now to make real progress In the meantime, we should only consider legislation that works to solve the budget problem by improving efficiency, increasing revenue, or spurring economic growth. We can't have a crisis of this magnitude and continue business as usual."
Sen. Leland Yee
"California families deserve better, especially during a time when they are struggling to just put food on the table.They need government to work for them. Instead, the Governor has completely eliminated many of the social services our communities need now more than ever. There are better ways to balance the budget rather than a slash and burn strategy. Many of our poor, elderly and most vulnerable people simply would not survive this budget.It is completely unacceptable that the Governor would again eliminate state funding for domestic violence shelters. While I am more than willing to negotiate and work with the Governor to find solutions to our economic problems, I will not support balancing the state budget solely on the backs of children, seniors and the working poor."
Assemblyman Jim Nielsen, vice-chair of the Assembly budget committee
"The Governor's budget proposal is an important starting point for what will be a year of very difficult decisions. It's critical that we get to work immediately to address $21 billion in deficits this year and next through a mixture of cuts, efficiencies and reforms. Assembly Republicans in budget committees will fight to ensure efficiencies and prioritize our limited spending in areas where they can have the greatest positive impact. We are committed to getting money into classrooms for education, and onto the streets for public safety. We must seize the opportunity this year to enact long-term budget and budget process reforms, and spur job growth so that we can avoid these types of fiscal crises in the future."
Assemblyman Ted Gaines
"California desperately needs a pro-growth, pro-jobs and pro-taxpayer budget that promotes prosperity for all. For too long, budget discussions have focused on what government programs needed to expand and what fees and taxes needed to be raised to pay for them. The result? A budget crisis that never seems to end and an economy in disarray. With good-paying private sector jobs continuing to flee to other states, it's time lawmakers pass a budget that streamlines burdensome regulations that hurt job creation."
Assemblyman Mike Villines
"The Governor is absolutely right to call for a legislative special session to deal with our budget crisis. We don't have a moment to waste to make the tough but needed choices to close California's $21 billion deficit. It won't be easy, but lawmakers must rise up to the challenge to work together to pass budget solutions that are fair, realistic and encourage job creation. Anything less - and anything that would make it harder to attract and retain jobs in California - will only push the crisis into future years. I look forward to working with my colleagues to pass a budget that reflects the priorities of hard-working Californians."
Assembly Speaker Karen Bass:
"Unfortunately the governor is slipping policy issues in his budget that really amount to his concern over his legacy. Once again he's looking to erode environmental, legal, education and pension protections. These have little to do with closing our budget deficit and more to do with a conservative legacy he wishes to leave behind. The governor says he wants to be in denial about this being his last year in office. This budget amounts to is a big pile of denial. The Legislature will take a much more serious approach to closing the state's budget deficit."
Assemblywoman Anna Caballero
"The Governor's budget proposal appears to be an honest attempt to close the deficit gap that exists between revenues and expenses, without the use of gimmicks and loans. There is no raid on local government dollars. There is no sale of state assets that no one wants to buy. There are no cuts to education. And thankfully, there is no proposal to increase taxes. It is time for the legislature to take this proposal seriously and establish our priorities in like fashion; understanding that most of these cuts will affect the most vulnerable in our society, the ill and disabled, seniors, the poor and children. Our challenge is to avoid pointing the finger of blame. We have to continue to work together in a bipartisan manner to reach a reasonable compromise that will resolve our continuing budget deficit, so that we can focus on rebuilding our economy and creating jobs."
Assemblyman Mike Eng
"Once again, the Governor has put forward a mean-spirited, super-partisan, and delusional approach to solving California's fiscal problems. Instead of using his last year in office to work collaboratively with the Legislature in hammering out a fair, honest and sound plan for eliminating California's structural deficit, he has chosen to kick our poor, sick, and elderly in the teeth by proposing to shred our social safety net.Further, I am very disappointed with the Governor's decision to gut the Proposition 42 fund, which will hurt our local governments and cripple our public transit system. This approach is ill-informed and counterproductive, especially with gas prices continuing to be high, air quality deteriorating, highway congestion getting worse, and public transit ridership at an all-time high."
Assemblywoman Mariko Yamada
"This New Year's budget proposal is a bit like a re-gifted holiday fruitcake--unwanted, dreadfully hardened, and impossible to swallow. Last year, core services to California's most vulnerable residents were deeply slashed. This year, they are threatened with extinction without a federal cash infusion. The poor should not be used as a bargaining chip to receive federal funds. I agree that as a state, our priorities should be on education rather than incarceration but the Governor's proposal of yet another ballot-box budget amendment to do so will only put handcuffs on future policymakers."
Treasurer Bill Lockyer
"Thousands of infrastructure projects will be threatened with delay or closure if the State cannot reenter the bond market soon. To do that, we need to quickly and credibly solve this fiscal year's budget problem. Infrastructure development is crucial to California's economic recovery. It creates and protects jobs, helps put our businesses back in the black and strengthens our competitiveness. I know the Legislature and Governor are up to the challenge, and I'm ready to do whatever I can to help."
Party officials, advocacy groups, others:
Jon Fleischman, publisher of Flashreport.org, regional vice chair of California Republican Party
"Looking at it broadly, I think that the budget proposed by the Governor starts off the negotiating process from the right spot -- which is with the premise that California taxpayers should not be punitively taxed to make up the budget shortfall. There are a lot of innovative solutions being proposed which is critical given the funding shortfall. This proposal recognizes that that the long term health of state government depends on an economic recovery. With concern for the taxpayer being the top priority, there are concerns about the return of the tax on homeowners insurance, counting on new revenue from red light cameras, and the myriad of proposed "revenue increases" that appear on a list to potentially implement if the federal government does not kick in requested funds to balance the budget. It is my hope that GOP lawmakers make it clear pretty quickly that the Governor is right when he says we need to live within our means, and that new taxes and fees (aka: "revenue increases") are not on the table, period."
California Community Colleges Chancellor Jack Scott
"Given the state's dire fiscal circumstance, the proposal for the California Community Colleges is as favorable as we could have hope.While this plan will not make up for the deep cuts the colleges experienced last year, it would help curb reductions in courses offered to our students. If students can't gain admission to the classes they need to graduate, then this becomes a back door denial of access to the California Community Colleges."
California State PTA President Jo A.S. Loss
In his presentation today, the Governor said his "budget proposal protects education." While this is encouraging, we expect actions that will match these words. There are early indications that the proposal contains adjustments to budget calculations and formulas that would result in reductions of more than $2 billion in funding for schools, as well as the possible elimination of health insurance for hundreds of thousands of children. ... We all know this year's state budget will require tough choices. But it also gives legislators the opportunity to do something brave and rare: put the next generation above the next election by fully protecting funding for education and children."
Jean Ross, executive director of the California Budget Project:
California needs a balanced approach to its budget crisis that includes new revenues and additional federal aid. California is among many states in the nation facing an enormous deficit during the worst economic crisis this country has seen since the Great Depression. Along with making sure that current American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds are being distributed as quickly as possible, California should be partnering with other states to make the case that without a second round of federal aid, deficits as large and persistent as California's could lead to cuts and layoffs that could tip the country back into a recession. And at a time when we need to carefully target every dollar of revenue toward education and programs that serve the common good, there has never been a worse time for poorly targeted tax credits like those the Governor has proposed. California simply can't afford them.
Rusty Selix, Executive Director of the California Council of Community Mental Health Agencies and Mental Health Association in California
"Just as he did a year ago, the governor has proposed diverting voter approved Prop 63 community mental health funds to balance the budget. ... Not only is this a proposal that flies in the face of the voters expressions, both in passing the measure in 2004 and rejecting similar cuts in 2009, but it also won't save money and would wind up costing teh state more in health social services and prison costs and make future budget problems even worse."
Bill A. Lloyd, President of the Services Employees International Union
"After a long and painful recession, California's middle-class needs a state budget that will stimulate the economy and help rebuild California. The Governor's budget proposal fails miserably on both counts, forcing massive layoffs and wage cuts, prolonging the recession, rolling back the promise of retirement security for middle-class families and putting vulnerable children and seniors in harm's way. We're ready to work with Governor Schwarzenegger and the legislature to secure federal dollars, but we won't let the Governor use our seniors, our children, and our state's recovery as bargaining chips. But state revenue has to be part of the solution, and our inadequate tax system needs to be re-evaluated. It's time for the corporations who have received sweetheart deals in every budget to pay their share, too. Working and middle class Californians have been shouldering the burden of our budget problems alone for far too long."
Craig E. Thompson, Executive Director of AIDS Project Los Angeles
"Keeping ADAP whole is courageous in this budget environment -- but it's also smart, cost-effective public health spending. People with HIV/AIDS who rely on this program must have access to these drug therapies. Without treatment, they will get sick, or worse, and end up costing the state much more for catastrophic health care."
Jim Earp, Executive Director of the California Alliance for Jobs
"This proposal will thwart the will of the voters, who have repeatedly and overwhelmingly dedicated the taxes we pay at the pump to transportation and transit improvements. It would reduce funding for public transit by $1.5 billion immediately, and would also reduce funding for state highways and local streets and roads by hundreds of millions of dollars each year over time. This nickel sized reduction in the gas tax is a hollow promise that will actually cost consumers more, because it is the only major source of funding to rebuild our aging and crumbling transportation system. Study after study shows that crumbling roads, gnarling traffic congestion, and unsafe streets and highways cost the average California motorist hundreds of dollars per year."
Elizabeth Goldstein, President of The California State Parks Foundation
Carmela Castellano-Garcia, President and CEO of the California Primary Care Association
"The proposal to support state parks with uncertain oil offshore drilling revenues is the wrong idea at the wrong time. It's noteworthy that the Governor has finally come around to the side of park advocates and park users in California by proposing to fund state parks, instead of cutting them as he's proposed in the last two budget cycles. But pegging the fiscal future of the state park system to offshore oil drilling sets up an unacceptable tradeoff between coastal protection and park preservation, and attempts to provide a band-aid for our state park system yet again."
"The cuts proposed by the Governor's budget will devastate the safety net to the point that it may not be able to sustain itself. ... The Governor clearly does not understand that what our state needs is more revenues. The people of California simply cannot survive deeper cuts and need a fair approach to balancing the state's books. The Governor should be looking at the billion-dollar profits and other corporate tax loopholes instead of once again asking our children and vulnerable populations to shoulder the burden alone."
Chris McKenzie, Executive Director of the League of California Cities
"This is just the kind of Byzantine proposal that we've seen from the state over and over again in recent years that erodes voter confidence in state government. Destabilizing local infrastructure funding in this way puts California on the wrong track to reinvigorate the economy."
Michael Ruane, Executive Director of the Children and Families Commission of Orange County
"The 2010-11 budget proposal released today includes diverting over $550 million of voter approved Proposition 10 revenue from state and county commissions to fund state programs. First 5 Commissions, including the Children and Families Commission of Orange County, are funded by Proposition 10 to support local health care, early education and homeless services for young children and families. The impact of this action would seriously jeopardize successful local Proposition 10 funded programs. In Orange County, and throughout the state of California, the funding is administered by county commissions through multi-year agreements for programs that are not typically funded by the state. Examples of currently funded programs include dental care, school nurses, community clinics, medical specialists, and support to families that have lost their homes due to the crippling recession and financial issues."
Anthony Wright, Executive Director of Health Access California
"The Governor proposes shocking cuts eliminating coverage and care for millions of Californians, which will have dramatic impacts on not just these families but on the health system on which we all rely. Even with a massive infusion of federal funds, the Governor would still propose to eliminate coverage to hundreds of thousands of Californians, including children. These devastating cuts would further unravel the health care system that we all rely on, where we have already seen services scaled back and full clinics close"
Gina Goodhill, Oceans Advocate for Environment California
"Threatening our coast with more oil drilling to balance the budget is an astoundingly bad decision. ... Trying to balance our budget with more oil drilling is like the Lakers trading Kobe Bryant to save money."
Antonio R. Flores, President and CEO of Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities
"We laud the Governor for a budget that recognizes the importance that higher education will play in getting California back on the road to economic recovery. We look forward to continuing to work with the Governor and the Legislature on a final budget that allows students to realize their full academic potential and become productive workers in the future. We will also continue to work over the long-term to bring higher education funding to levels that will assure a strong future for Latinos and for all Californians."
Russell W. Snyder, Executive Director of the California Asphalt Pavement Association
"When voters approved set formulas for transportation funding, they spoke loud and clear about the importance of a safe and dependable transportation system to our quality of life. Caltrans estimates that it takes about $6.2 billion a year to properly maintain our freeways and highways, yet the department receives only about one quarter of that amount. With gas-tax gimmicks, the governor's budget seeks to undermine an already underfunded highway budget even further. Studies have shown that deficiencies in the roadway environment nationwide contributed to 22,000 fatalities and cost more than $217 billion annually. How many will die or suffer needlessly in California because of poorly maintained roads and bridges? This budget is a cruel hoax perpetrated on anyone who has to drive a kid to school, a bus to work or benefits from all the goods and services that come to us by truck."
Wilma Chan of Children Now
"While you claim that this budget puts children first, it in fact puts the health and well-being of children dead last. It is disingenuous to claim that you are committed to the education of children when your budget proposal will send hundreds of thousands of kids to the ranks of the uninsured. These children will have difficulty learning because of illness or long waits in the emergency room. You can't teach to an empty desk."
Statements have been edited for brevity