Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

brownCaliforniaBudget.jpgCalifornia Gov. Jerry Brown detailed his revised budget proposal this morning. Read The Bee's coverage of the plan here, then see what legislators, advocates and others are saying about the proposal in this rapid response roundup.

Democratic legislators and officials:

Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez

We appreciate the Governor's commitment to maintaining the fiscal stability that has come from an improving economy, legislative Democrats making tough but necessary budget cuts, voters approving the majority-vote budget and voters standing with Democrats in supporting temporary tax revenues. We will review the Governor's proposals and revenue projections, along with the LAO's revenue projections, in depth, and his revised budget will be thoroughly discussed throughout the Budget committee and subcommittee process.

Assembly Budget Committee Chairman Bob Blumenfield, D-Los Angeles

Our economy is showing signs of recovery but our budget is sending us mixed signals. The modest surplus we now possess took a lot of sacrifice to obtain and we cannot squander it. With many Californians still out of work, this budget is not just about paying down debt and saving money for a rainy day. It is also about growing our economy and broadening opportunities for Californians to succeed through education and a better environment for small business.

Assemblywoman Susan A. Bonilla, D-Concord

The infusion of at least a billion dollars for Common Core professional development and technology upgrades, into California schools, means we are positioned to transition to a successful twenty-first century model of education. Our students deserve this opportunity to be challenged by standards that require analytical thinking, and this targeted use of one time money provides educators with the tools to advance instruction and integrate technology into the learning environment.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson

As a teacher, it's heartening to finally see new resources directed to California's schools after so many years of painful cuts. Californians want our schools back on solid financial ground, and Governor Brown's proposal represents another important step in the right direction.

Assemblywoman Mariko Yamada, D-Davis

As expected, the Governor's May Revise strikes a balance between the temporary revenues granted us by the voters and a focus on recovering the California economy. The Assembly will review the Governor's proposals and work hard to deliver an on-time '3-R' budget--one that is responsible, reasonable, and restrained.

Assemblyman Jim Frazier, D-Oakley

I am pleased to see this budget includes an increase in education funding and a prudent reserve, but I remain very concerned about reduced funding to our court system. In my district alone, Contra Costa County and Solano County courthouses and courtrooms have already closed, civil, family law, and small claims hearings are delayed, and the public has limited access. Additional cuts would exacerbate this situation

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento

Overall, this May Revision is a refreshing change. For the first time in four years, we no longer have to stare at enormous deficits and make agonizing decisions on which cuts will do the least harm to our children, to the poor, and to middle class families. That's the politically correct thing to say, and it happens to be true. I agree we must aggressively pay down our state's debt and set aside money for a reserve, but there's a disappointing aspect to this proposal. It's important that we also begin making up for some of the damage done to tens of thousands of Californians. Unless the Legislative Analyst has a different conclusion, the Governor proposes few if any resources to restore cuts made over the past few years to the courts, and to health and human services. The Governor's Local Control Funding Formula is the right policy direction, but our serious concern about how it's accomplished remains. The concentration grants treat thousands of disadvantaged students unequally. It also fails to expand the proven success of career pathway programs which can reduce dropout rates and improve our kids' readiness for the workforce by combining rigorous curriculum that's also relevant to students' career goals.

Assemblyman Roger Dickinson, D-Sacramento

The Governor's May Revise budget proposal is another encouraging indication that budget stability appears to have returned to California after years of financial struggle and education will receive desperately-needed additional funding. However, the May Revise continues to shortchange the most vulnerable in our state--such as those who need health care, child care, access to justice, or essential support services to escape poverty. By adopting a balanced budget, making prudent investments to help those in need and rebuild our economy, and protecting the state from future economic downtowns, we can continue to restore our Golden State.

Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco

Thanks to Governor Brown and the voters of California standing up for Prop 30 last year, our state's economy is moving in the right direction.
The Governor's proposal puts much needed money back into our public schools. The children of California will be better served by this support. Their future, and ours, will be brighter as a result. It is my hope that we can also restore some of the funding levels of social services and local governments that have had devastating cuts in recent years. Seniors, people with disabilities and children in poverty have had their benefits cut back for years, and it is time to undo the damage done to California's most vulnerable citizens.

Assemblyman Ed Chau, D- Alhambra

Today, the governor laid out a budget plan committed to maintaining the fiscal stability that has resulted from tough but necessary budget cuts, supporting temporary tax revenues, and an improving economy. However, we must build on that stability. As we spend the next month reconciling our priorities, I will be reviewing the Governor's framework through the prism of principles outlined in our Blue Print for a Responsible Budget, which calls for ongoing fiscal responsibility, strengthening the middle class, and delivering effective, efficient services for all Californians.

Assemblyman Marc Levine, D-San Rafael

The May Revision provides reason for cautious optimism. Revenues are up in the short term, but growth is not as fast as any of us would like," said Levine. "It is important that this budget continue to reflect our priorities. These priorities include creating long-term fiscal sustainability, increasing funding for education from kindergarten through college, and implementing the Affordable Care Act. There is a lot of work ahead of us, but I believe this Budget will come to be seen as the light at the end of the economic tunnel.

Republican legislators and officials:

Sen. Anthony Cannella, R-Ceres

I want to applaud the Governor for the restraint he has shown in his revised budget plan. The voters showed trust in state government in November by approving a tax increase and we owe it to them to use the money as it was intended. I remain concerned that the Legislature will redirect these funds towards new programs instead of improving education and public safety and tackling our 'Wall of Debt.' I appreciate the increases he has proposed to help with prison realignment, but still believe that more can be done.

Board of Equalization Member George Runner

The Governor's revised budget reflects the fact that budget revenues are exceeding expectations. Multi-billion budget deficits appear to be a thing of the past - at least for now. But let's not be fooled. We're not out of the woods yet, and we can't tax ourselves into prosperity. Many California communities continue to struggle with high unemployment, rising crime and massive debt. Only a renewed focus on job creation will solve the many problems still facing our state.

Sen. Bill Emmerson, R-Hemet

It's clear that once again we share common ground with Governor Brown. He refers to it as fiscal prudence. I call it common sense. However, I remain frustrated that the Governor continues to suspend the constitutionally required budget reserve. This clearly demonstrates that the people should be allowed to vote on the rainy day fund slated for the 2014 ballot without further delay from legislative Democrats.

Senate GOP leader Bob Huff

We have common ground with the Governor in a belief that we cannot return to a culture of overspending that drives new budget crises. Governor Brown referred to this as a 'Call for Prudence,' we would call it 'Common Sense.' It seems that the Governor's biggest budget challenge will be in restraining legislative Democrats and their growing wish list of new spending

Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen, R-Modesto

I am pleased that Governor Brown's budget continues to employ the Local Control Funding Formula, and that he has increased the base level of funding per pupil. This will help all kids in all schools while still providing supplemental and concentration grants in recognition of the fact that additional challenges require additional strategies and funding. Most importantly, it implements local control, which allows schools districts to determine the best use of funds for their unique districts. With Common Core Standards being implemented next year, I'm pleased Governor Brown is dedicating $1 billion for training and materials so that we don't set up our schools for failure. However, we need to closely monitor the execution of this new program. If implemented correctly, these new programs along with long overdue education reforms will raise student achievement and better match our education system with workforce needs.

Assembly Republican Leader Connie Conway, of Tulare:

Governor Brown today put forward a revised state spending plan that I believe charts a realistic path forward in meeting the budget priorities of hard-working taxpayers. Republicans share the Governor's commitment to paying down state debt and holding the line on new spending. It is our hope that Legislative Democrats will follow the Governor's lead in making fiscal discipline a core budget principle. We must resist the temptation to blow through the surplus using one-time money for ongoing programs and reverse the progress we've made in closing the deficit.

Assembly Budget Committee Vice Chair Jeff Gorell, R-Camarillo:
It is appropriate that the Governor is making conservative projections for state revenues. Corporate tax and sales tax revenues are all down. California's economy is not recovering at its full potential, weighed down, in part, by policy decisions made in Sacramento, like tax increases, the cap and trade program, and other regulatory burdens on state businesses. Regrettably, we are sending the wrong message to job creators in today's May Revise. The elimination of funding for the state's enterprise zones pulls the rug out from under hundreds of businesses that have relied in good faith on this program by moving operations into enterprise zones and hiring new employees. The decision, if carried forward, will likely result in expensive litigation for the state and less savings for state government than projected, as was the experience with the elimination of redevelopment agencies. Finally, I think the Governor should lay the groundwork for a rainy day fund that would smooth out the volatile tax revenue that California receives.

Sen. Mimi Walters, R-Irvine

I am pleased that for the first time since I was elected to the Legislature we are not confronted with a multi-billion dollar deficit. But let's be clear, that is a result of a questionable retroactive tax that has accounted for the current projected surplus. I believe we can all agree that excessive spending and dubious budgetary gimmicks of this and previous governors have placed undue stress on California families. Despite the perceived good news regarding state revenues, the May Revision illuminates the continual struggle the state will face in maintaining a stable and solid budget in future years. The governor's plan has already attempted to gloss over the state's slow economic recovery, which the revise acknowledges that our diminished tax revenue will be unable to cover.

Sen. Jim Nielsen, R-Gerber

Having been through many budget committee hearings, I must caution the Governor and my Democrat colleagues to keep in mind that California government is still increasing spending by some 24 percent over the next four years. The state has a structural deficit.
The near automatic increases persist in the state budget. There is a need for a Constitutional budget requirement and a hard spending cap if the state's finances are to be balanced. Reforms are needed and are long overdue. The Governor's rhetorical prudence has got to be translated into action by the Legislature.

Advocates, interest groups and others

California Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye

I'm disappointed that the Governor's revised budget proposals provide no more fiscal relief to the courts. Given the state's current fiscal condition, I had hoped for more effort to help stop the downward spiral of the judicial branch budget. Courts across the state are already closing courthouses, courtrooms, and reducing the hours they serve the public. Without reinvestment in the courts, these terrible impacts will only expand, and the poor and middle class residents who rely on the courts to resolve issues that affect their lives and livelihoods will be adversely affected, as well those businesses still digging out from the effects of the great recession.

Patrick Lenz, the University of California system's vice president for budget and capital resources

With this proposal, the governor is continuing his multi-year funding commitment to increase the University of California by 5 percent in the 2013-14 fiscal year and then 5 percent, 4 percent, and 4 percent in the subsequent fiscal years. In addition, the administration is continuing its support for UC restructuring debt to achieve $80 million in annual savings. Those savings will provide not only the additional fiscal stability to meet UC mandatory costs, but also funding to re-invest in the quality initiatives that will support the governor's plan for additional performance outcome measure

Anthony Wright, executive director, Health Access California

The California comeback isn't reflected in this health care budget, and would be hampered as we short-sightedly deny California needed federal matching dollars, including new dollars available under the Affordable Care Act, which are desperately needed in our financially strapped health system. By not making targeted investments and restorations, that's money that is not coming into our state, not helping families get needed care, not improving our health system, and not advancing our economic recovery

Rebecca Sibilia, StudentsFirst chief financial officer and vice president of fiscal strategy

We're pleased that Governor Brown's revised state budget proposal continues to prioritize education by improving funding flexibility and equity and by providing significant resources toward implementing the Common Core State Standards. .... We're also pleased Governor Brown is standing by his Local Control Funding Formula, which fairly funds all students and provides disadvantaged students with additional resources. We urge the Legislature to support this bold plan and work with him to ensure these funds are deployed in a transparent and accountable way.

Debbie Reyes, the Prison Moratorium Project

Brown's budget repeats the bad news of his so-called plan for prison overcrowding. In his plan, he told the Federal Court that he supports no programs to reduce the prison population and wants to reduce crowding by building more prisons and leasing more cells. Today we see that plan in dollars and cents.

Vanessa Aramayo, director of California Partnership

The Governor's revised budget proposal fails to address our poverty crisis by continuing the steep cuts to safety net programs made during the Great Recession. Since 2008, California has decimated our state's social safety net with devastating effects. Over the last few years, our poverty rate jumped from 16.3% to an astounding 23.5%. It's time to address our poverty crisis and restore, rebuild, and reinvest in California's future. Our continuing recovery depends on this reinvestment, which will bring in federal dollars to our state and help our economy

Patrick Johnston, California Association of Health Plans President and CEO

The expansion of Medi-Cal managed care will go far to secure our health care safety net for low-income Californians and to reduce the number of uninsured. Health plans look forward to working with the Administration and the Legislature to ensure the proposed tax on Medi-Cal managed care will directly support the program. The state and federal government are increasingly relying on managed care in public programs because, compared to fee-for-service, Medi-Cal Managed Care improves access to care, delivers better and more coordinated care, and provides significant cost-savings.

Brian Kabateck, Consumer Attorneys of California president

The governor talked this morning about a 'give and take' with the Legislature during budget negotiations in the weeks ahead," said CAOC President. "Well, the courts have
already given to the tune of $1.1 billion in general fund revenue lost since 2007. That's why courthouses are closing and trials are being delayed and important services are being denied. It's time for the state to start giving back to the courts. It's time for lawmakers to understand that we need to start restoring this cornerstone of our democracy.

Paul R. Phinney, California Medical Association president

As is evidenced by Governor's Brown revised budget announcement this morning, California is looking at a brighter fiscal future than in recent years. While we commend the Governor for his commitment to successful implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in California, including the expansion of Medicaid eligibility in the state, the 37,000 members of CMA remain concerned about the continued effort to build reform on the broken backbone of Medi-Cal.

Carmella Gutierrez, president of Californians for Patient Care:

We are deeply disappointed the Brown Administration failed to reverse pending state cuts in Medi-Cal reimbursements that were included in the revised budget released today. Now more than ever, access to care to California's hospitals, doctors, pharmacists and other healthcare providers should be a priority. With California's elderly population increasing, the viability of community providers will take on even greater importance. Yet while the state prepares to enroll as many as 1.4 million additional Californians in the Medi-Cal program, many healthcare providers can no longer afford to serve these patients.

PHOTO CREDIT: Gov. Jerry Brown explains his January 2013 budget proposal. (AP Photo/ Rich Pedroncelli, file)


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