Republicans aren't the only budget observers whose feathers are ruffled over the majority-vote budget plan approved by legislative Democrats last night.
Representatives from some education, law enforcement, health and welfare advocacy and local government groups are bemoaning various parts of the package, which even one Democrat described as "light years from perfect," in some cases threatening legal action.
A range of responses from Democratic and Republican lawmakers and officials, education and local government groups and more are posted after the jump. The post will be updated as more reactions roll in.
Democratic lawmakers and officials:
Gov. Jerry Brown
"Democrats in the California State Legislature made tough choices and delivered an honest, balanced and on-time budget that contains painful cuts and brings government closer to the people through an historic realignment. Putting our state on a sound and sustainable fiscal footing still requires much work, but we have now taken a huge step forward."
Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg
"The voters gave us the responsibility to govern, and we delivered the first time out. For the past six months, the Governor and we tried to create a bipartisan budget with a balance of cuts and revenue extensions. But in the end, there wasn't a single Republican vote on the revenue side. Without their participation, we were forced to govern with one arm tied behind our backs. But we stepped up to get the job done. ... This is not a budget to celebrate. There's a lot of pain here for a lot of people. We enacted a plan that preserves our opportunity for economic recovery, and look forward to giving Californians the chance to vote on making that recovery even stronger."
Assembly Speaker John A. Perez
"We began this budget process with a commitment to make 2011 the year we begin building out of the recession, and today's budget package is a major step towards that effort. The budget package we approved makes some tough decisions, but it closes the deficit for this year and wipes out more than three-fourths of our ongoing structural deficit, and that is a major step towards getting control of our finances."
Assemblyman Marty Block, D-San Diego:
"Since Assembly and Senate Republicans refused to let the people vote on revenue extensions, legislative Democrats came together to make the tough decisions and pass a balanced budget before the start of the new fiscal year. The difficult choices in this budget reflect the stark realities of the state's fiscal situation - none more unsettling than the deep reductions made to our colleges and universities. While the results of these cuts are troubling, this balanced budget puts California on the road to sound fiscal recovery."
Assemblywoman Mariko Yamada
"This agreement, while imperfect, ensures that the State continues to operate in the new fiscal year. A majority of Democrats worked to avoid further devastating cuts that have already inflicted deep pain that too many Californians are already feeling. Our work says that we are serious about keeping California on the road to recovery."
Assemblyman Bob Blumenfied, D-Woodland Hills
Assemblywoman Norma Torres, D-Pomona
"This is a serious budget for a serious time. It is best described as making the best out of a bad situation. But this budget is our backup plan. It is not the fair and balanced approach that the governor originally proposed and a majority of legislators preferred. We stand united with the governor in making some very difficult but necessary choices today for the greater good so that California will have a budget in place on time. This budget makes real progress towards our long-term financial stability by eliminating 75% of our state's budget gap projected for future years. And, we were able to hold off cuts that would cost us jobs and put roadblocks before our economic recovery."
"While this is not a perfect budget, it avoids deeper and drastic cuts, it puts a spending plan in place by the beginning of the fiscal year and it protects k-12 schools, and public safety. It is a bitter sweet budget agreement.
Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom
"I'm deeply disappointed that Republican legislators have decided to idle irresponsibly on the budget sidelines, leaving the Governor and the Democratic majority no choice but to make even deeper cuts while forfeiting the opportunity to finally end our perpetual, long-term budget crisis. This budget is light years from perfect. I am particularly and profoundly concerned by the escalating cuts to California's higher education system. .... Even in an economic downturn, we should be investing in our universities to ensure we're producing the highly-skilled, educated workforce California needs to compete in the global economy."
Attorney General Kamala Harris
I congratulate Governor Jerry Brown and the Legislature for their success in passing California's budget bill. However, I join California law enforcement leaders in expressing serious concerns over the passage yesterday of $71 million in cuts to the Division of Law Enforcement budget. These budget cuts handcuff the state Department of Justice's ability to fight gang violence and disrupt the flow of drugs, guns and human beings across our border.
Republican lawmakers and officials:
Senate GOP leader Bob Dutton, of Rancho Cucamonga
Let's get one thing clear about the budget the Democrats passed without Republican input or support - we will never fix this state's chronic budget crisis until we get Californians back to work. ... This budget not only lacks regulatory relief that is critical for creating job opportunities, it lacks the other reforms that Californians are demanding and deserve. Californians want a hard spending cap and they want reforms to fix the unsustainable state and local pension systems. Pension reform is the only way to ensure that state and local governments can continue to fund essential services in the future. This is a "Hope without Change" budget. It relies on the hope for billions of phantom dollars and does nothing, absolutely nothing, to change government as usual.
Assembly GOP leader Connie Conway, of Tulare
"For months, Assembly Republicans faced relentless pressure from the majority party and the Sacramento spending lobby to cave into higher taxes so they could fund more giveaways and unsustainable spending. Tonight, our Caucus honored our commitment to taxpayers by preventing the passage of painful tax increases that would have hurt families and employers alike. While it is unfortunate that the Democrats' majority vote budget plan includes illegal fee increases, irresponsible spending priorities and lack of funding certainty for K-12 and higher education, it is good news for Californians that it does not include a massive $58 billion tax increase. As a result of Assembly Republicans standing united together to protect taxpayers, the average California will see $1000 in annual tax savings starting Friday. This tax relief will be a major boost to families and the economy.
Sen. Ted Gaines, R-Roseville:
"Our plea for real pension reform, a hard spending cap, job creation and a change in the way government does business is clearly falling on deaf ears. Instead, this budget relies largely on the hope that an additional $5.2 billion in new tax revenues will miraculously appear in the treasury. Should that additional revenue not materialize, education and public safety will pay the price with deep spending cuts. I'm not willing to hedge that kind of a bet when our economy is still struggling and the unemployment rate continues to hover at 12 percent. I've said this time and time again - we need to enact serious, long-term solutions that will not only prevent future financial meltdowns, but will encourage job creation and allow California's economy to recover."
Sen. Tony Strickland, R-Moorpark
"Governor Brown and the majority in Sacramento are obviously against reform. They proved they would rather cut the school year by one week and do an all-cuts budget than reform California by agreeing to a spending cap, pension reform, and regulatory reform to create jobs. The good news is that our republican caucus stood together and now families will have an extra $1,000 in their pockets to help create jobs and grow the California economy."
Assemblyman Don Wagner, R-Irvine
"Today, we celebrate a victory for Taxpayers in California. Let it be known that wherever there is a proposal for a Tax increase - whether it is in a state budget process, or on a ballot box somewhere - the Taxpayers Caucus and its colleagues in the Legislature will be there every step of the way to fight for the people."
Assemblyman Brian Nestande, R-Palm Desert
"Last night was a victory for the California taxpayer. Democrats were forced to do something they said couldn't be done - pass a budget without extending current tax increases.While the Governor deserves credit for eliminating some of the normal accounting gimmicks, he has raised the bar on revenue projections. We believe his newly discovered $4 billion in revenue is overly optimistic."
Assemblyman Paul Cook, R-Yucca Valley:
Tonight, the Legislature continued an ignominious tradition by passing yet another gimmick-filled budget under the cover of darkness. This budget contain no reforms to jumpstart our economy or fix our broken pension system. Instead, it's filled with legally questionable tax and fee hikes. It plays the same games that politicians have been playing for years by assuming that billions of dollars in new revenue will come in above and beyond current revenue projections.
Sen. Doug LaMalfa, R-Richvale
"Californians deserve honesty, but this budget is based on the hope of increased tax revenue with no guarantee of it. It does nothing to institute the reforms Republicans have worked toward for six months, such as a hard spending cap, major pension changes and reform of job-killing regulations. It is hard to believe that California will produce further positive revenues while this legislature is busy passing more excessive regulations and attempting to tax and fee every productive Californian. The budget package was crafted without no public input aside from the special interests working against reform. Some budget bills were still being written when Senators were called to the Floor to vote on them, leaving one to wonder how this could be considered a truly open process.
Assemblyman Jim Nielsen, R-Gerber
"This budget confirms that the governor's original proposal for five years of tax increases of 58 billion dollars was not needed. It is a victory for the citizens of California who in 2009 rejected these same taxes. The problem with this budget is that cuts are temporary and reforms of the structural budget problems are non-existent. Worse, it funds a dangerous realignment of public safety programs that represent a clear risk of danger to citizens who will become victims due to this ill-founded plan that has previously failed in lesser forms."
Board of Equalization Member Michelle Steel
For all the back-patting taking place in the Democratic caucus, the majority vote budget just passed once again fails to address the structural reforms needed to put our state back on track. The Governor and Democratic leaders simply switched tax hikes for billions of dollars in rosy revenue projections to call their budget balanced. This majority vote budget still includes the unconstitutional "Amazon" tax which will kill 25,000 jobs and produce no revenue, and a car-tax hike of $12 for every California driver. Instead of passing real solutions to create jobs and economic growth, the legislative majority has chosen to cross their fingers until December, when they'll revisit the can they just kicked down the road again. In the meantime our already unsustainable debt will continue to grow, and true reform will become even harder to achieve.
Tom Del Beccaro, chairman of the California Republican Party
"Once again, California Democrats have ignored the reforms their counterparts have embraced in other blue states like Massachusetts, New York and New Jersey, and passed a partisan plan that is based on assumptions. They're postponing the inevitable because they don't have the courage to stand up to public union bosses and pass reforms they know that California voters overwhelmingly support."
Jon Fleischman, Republican Strategist, Publisher, FlashReport.org
"First and foremost, Republican legislators should be commended for standing tall for California taxpayers. Because of their efforts, the temporary taxes (the extension of which were overwhelmingly rejected by voters) will end at the end of the week. Congratulations. As for the budget that was passed, simply put it is the Democrats' budget. Democrats took no input from Republicans, and it reflects the priorities of the hard left and the massive state public employee unions. A Republican "no new taxes" budget would have been a very, very different spending document -- hence the reason why the budget garnered not a single GOP vote."
Martha Fluor, president of the California School Boards Association
"For months, school board members, parents, teachers, business leaders and community members both Democrat and Republican have urged legislators throughout the state to put students before politics and make education a priority by extending temporary taxes. While the approved state budget still lacks the certainty districts need to make sound fiscal decisions, we recognize that the governor was left with no other choice. We are grateful that Democratic lawmakers and the governor worked diligently to provide the best budget scenario possible without the necessary two-thirds support to extend taxes and protect education from deeper cuts. Unfortunately, without the tax extensions, the budget defers an additional $2.1 billion of K-12 education funding and creates the possibility of an additional $1.9 billion in mid-year 'trigger' cuts to schools. School board members now need to plan their district budgets with the understanding that if new revenues do not amount to the $4 billion projected in this state budget, education will face nearly $2 billion more in mid-year cuts."
Jim Earp, Executive Director of the California Alliance for Jobs
"We commend Governor Brown and the Democrats for passing a budget after a long and arduous process. They made hard choices that will affect millions of Californians, but without decisive action now, the economic and social consequences would have been even more dire. This budget is not ideal. It does not incorporate pension and regulatory reforms that will ultimately be needed to correct the state's structural deficit and stimulate economic recovery. But lacking a bi-partisan effort, the majority party managed to come up with a pragmatic approach that bridges California's $9.6 billion deficit and allows us to move forward.
Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access California
"Because we couldn't extend current tax rates, this California budget cuts care and undermines the health system on which we all rely. The budget includes severe cuts to health care, including caps on Medi-Cal doctor visits, significantly increased premiums and co-payments for low-income families, and drastic cuts to Medi-Cal providers and adult day health centers. These cuts will come back to bite us. We'll lose federal matching funds, doubling the negative impact on health care providers, and on our fragile economic recovery. As Californians face financial and administrative to get care, many patients will have worse heath outcome as a result--which will be more costly in the short and long term. Seniors who lack a viable option in Adult Day Health Centers will likely end up in a more expensive nursing homes. We've gone well past smart and strategic cuts to ones that are just plain stupid."
California State Association of Counties officials:
"Realignment will only work over the long-term with dedicated revenues and constitutional protections. The budget being passed today by the Legislature is the first step in realignment. Counties must work diligently with the Legislature and Administration on a complete realignment plan, including constitutional protections." - Riverside County Supervisor John Tavaglione, president of CSAC
"Still, we are disappointed but not disheartened. The Governor has, to the best of his ability, stood by his commitments to counties, and it is more vital than ever that our partnership continue in order to secure the necessary constitutional protections counties require to make realignment feasible." - Yolo County Supervisor Mike McGowan, first vice president of CSAC.
John Shirey, executive director of the California Redevelopment Association
"We're deeply disappointed that slim majorities in the legislature passed this budget that relies on the illegal extortion of revenues from redevelopment agencies that will never materialize. This plan is unconstitutional, violating Proposition 22 which was just passed overwhelmingly by voters in November. If the Governor signs the redevelopment trailer bills (AB x1 26/27), we'll quickly file a lawsuit to prevent these unconstitutional measures from becoming law. We thank Senator Rod Wright and Senator Bob Huff for their leadership throughout this process, as well as Senators Michael Rubio, Leland Yee, Lou Correa, Assembly Member Anthony Portantino and the many Republicans who refused to vote for this illegal and fiscally reckless proposal."
James C. Hodges, president of the California Narcotic Officers' Association
"Yesterday's budget agreement contained a bad surprise - the budget decimated the General Fund resources available to Attorney General Kamala Harris' office for law enforcement purposes. The impact of these cuts will be the shutting down of all BNE task forces, as well as their offices. Each of you may recall that these same cuts were proposed in 2009 during the Schwarzenegger administration. Fortunately, the Legislature wisely rejected those proposed cuts. The reasons for rejecting those cuts in 2009 are as valid today as they were in 2009. In fact, they have become accentuated over the past two years. It is fact that the Mexican drug cartels have dramatically increased their profile in California... Additionally, the significant challenges local law enforcement will face in 2011 with public safety realignment is further reason to restore the BNE task forces. The fact is that the loss of BNE task forces will force local law enforcement - who will tell you frankly that they lack the expertise to deal with these sophisticated, multi-national criminal enterprises - to put scarce resources to fill the void left by the loss of BNE task forces. This is a diversion of local law enforcement resources that will unacceptably undermine their efforts to make public safety realignment work."
Gregory D. Totten, president of the California District Attorneys Association
"If this cut is allowed to stand, numerous entities within DOJ will be devastated. Though funded by the Restitution Fund, the Witness Relocation and Protection Program is staffed by DOJ personnel. A reduction in services within this program jeopardizes the ability of law enforcement to protect and relocate vital witnesses. Of additional concern is the potential negative impact on forensic services provided by DOJ. State forensic labs assist counties across the state with blood-alcohol and drug testing that is crucial to all types of prosecutions. This cut portends access to justice issues inasmuch as the availability of these services will become less uniform, specifically in counties that do not have local labs."
Jean Ross, executive director of the California Budget Project
"This is a very tough budget for families and communities across California. The new spending plan includes deep reductions to critical public programs and institutions. These cuts will make it more difficult for young Californians to get the college degree they need to get ahead in the job market, make it harder for kids and families to obtain basic health care, and scale back the social safety net at a time when the economy is still struggling. We applaud some components of this budget, such as efforts to rein in ineffective redevelopment agencies and improve collection of sales tax owed on purchases made online from out-of-state retailers, and the decision to drop the costly sale of state office buildings. Still, it is deeply disappointing that the approved budget does not reflect a balanced approach that combines additional revenues with spending reductions to move the budget toward balance.