Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

Here are some reactions to Gov. Jerry Brown's budget proposal.

Assembly Speaker John A. Perez:

Assembly Democrats want to maintain stability and expand opportunity. There is much in the Governor's budget proposal that supports those goals. I'm pleased to see so many areas of agreement between the Governor and the Assembly, particularly how strongly he has embraced the rainy day fund that is the cornerstone of the Assembly's proposal.

With a strong rainy day fund in place we can avoid mistakes of the past and ensure that education and other vital services in California are protected from the volatility of boom and bust cycles.

I am pleased that the Governor proposes to continue paying down the wall of debt. This proposal completely pays off California's economic recovery bond debt from 2005, and repays our schools six billion dollars in funds that were deferred during the worst years of the Recession.

This proposal makes smart investments in strengthening our economic recovery, especially with respect to our shared commitment to infrastructure.

The Assembly will work with the Governor and the Senate to finalize another on-time balanced budget. Having agreement on such a major component as the rainy day fund makes that job easier."

Assembly Republican Leader Connie Conway, R-Tulare.

While the budget is out sooner than the Governor planned, it gives us more time to review the fine print. I hope that Gov. Brown is successful in convincing his fellow Democrats to resist the urge to spend away any fiscal progress the state has made. We've been down this road before and I'd strongly caution my legislative friends across the aisle from traveling it again. In the not-so-distant past, California has seen unexpected revenue spikes that have evaporated overnight - quickly turning modest surpluses into enormous deficits.

"Now is the time to tackle the wall of debt, avoid the budget mistakes of the past and invest in our future so that our economy grows. The Governor sounds receptive to those ideas and Assembly Republicans stand ready to work in good faith to achieve those goals.

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento

"After years of struggle to erase the state's deficit, we all agree that it's imperative to use much of our increased revenues to pump up the rainy day fund and to eliminate the debt from loans, bonds and delayed payments to our schools. I appreciate the Governor's aggressive approach to more than double the reserve and pay down debt even more quickly than we had hoped.

"At the same time, we must invest in the people of California, especially those living in the economic margins. I've proposed and remain committed to a balanced framework of 'a third, a third, a third,' where we divide the surplus into reserves, repayment and reinvestment.

"We are pleased that the budget includes last year's Senate Democratic proposal to invest in substance abuse treatment, mental health and re-entry programs for criminal offenders who serve their time, saving more money by slowing the revolving door in our jails and prisons. I support the Governor's request for a two year delay in the federal court's prison population order. The court must approve this request.

"Such smart reinvestment pays dividends down the road and is just as important to fiscal stability as the long term strategy of excising our debt and saving for the future. Similarly, expanding transitional kindergarten can be accomplished with just a fraction of increased Prop 98 funds while saving billions of dollars in the long run by reducing the extra costs of special education, grade retention and juvenile crime.

"The Legislature will now accelerate its work in the five-month budget process through public hearings to closely examine the Governor's proposals. I look forward to working with my colleagues, the Administration and the Assembly to achieve our common goal - developing a sound fiscal roadmap to meet the needs of all Californians."

Sens. Bob Huff, R-Diamond Bar, and Jim Nielsen, R-Gerber

"Generally speaking we're pleased to see our schools benefit, but the rainy day reserve needs to be more robust, and the ACA 4 proposal supported by Democrats and Republicans is a better starting point," Senator Huff said. "The Governor wisely identified the need to pay down debt in this budget, but there's more that needs to be done. As he notes, there is a $355 billion mountain of debt that isn't going away. His High Speed Rail proposal is a non-starter. Even if his idea to take money from the Cap & Trade fund is legal - which we don't believe it is -businesses throughout the state will be forced to pay for it. That means higher gas costs and fewer jobs for middle class families. Too many people, too many families, are still hurting and looking for work. We need to help California workers find jobs.

The big question is, can the Governor hold strong against the spending demands made by his fellow Democrats," Senator Huff added. "Judging by the way they want to spend money, you'd think California was booming. Sadly, that's not the case. Our unemployment rate is still among the highest in the country and that's not acceptable. Ramping up state spending before making sure we're on solid fiscal ground is a recipe for disaster. What's the good of building up programs only to tear them down in a couple of years? We've seen this movie before, and it doesn't have a happy ending."

Senator Nielsen added, "I appreciate that the Governor is advocating fiscal restraint. This budget proposal, however, doesn't adequately address the structural deficit that continues to plague the state treasury. It also continues to fund the Governor's 'dream' of the High Speed Rail that California taxpayers don't want and can't afford.

California's budget problems have not been erased by the financial windfall created by recent tax increases. We have a $350 billion 'wall of debt' that must be paid down so our economy can grow. Our state's economy is not recovering like the rest of the country. We must address the need to create more jobs for Californians who want to work."

Michele Stillwell-Parvensky of Children's Defense Fund-California

"Governor Brown's initial budget proposal once again fails to recognize the dire need to repair a social safety net that was shredded during five years of budget cuts to critical programs. While the Governor's continued investment in K-12 education is a positive step, children also need health care, quality child care and pre-k, and family supports to survive and flourish.
"We understand the wisdom of preparing for the future; however, it is irresponsible to allocate billions to pay down state debt and build a rainy day fund when one in four California children live in poverty. It has been pouring for California's most vulnerable children and families for years - and now the state has the resources to protect our children and our future by investing in programs that will help create a level playing field for all children.
"The need for re-investing on the state level is made even more pressing by the devastating cuts to federal social safety net programs like food assistance and unemployment benefits, upon which so many Californians rely to support their families.
"Our continued prosperity depends on all of our citizens having a chance to thrive and succeed. On the 50th Anniversary of the War on Poverty, we urge our state lawmakers to use our good fiscal health to restore and strengthen the safety net programs that protect and support our most vulnerable children and families as they find their way out of poverty and into economic security."

State Treasurer Bill Lockyer

"This is a sound, sober, fiscally wise plan. It resists the temptation to not worry about the next, inevitable economic downturn, and offers a more sensible, flexible way to build a strong reserve. It erases from the books the debt created by one of the biggest fiscal mistakes in the state's history - the deficit financing bonds authorized in 2004. And it's up-front with Californians about the true extent of pension and other long-term liabilities the state faces.

"If the final budget that emerges from negotiations between the Governor and Legislature closely resembles this blueprint, it will be a budget the state can be proud of and the rating agencies and investors will embrace."

Assemblyman Roger Dickinson, D-Sacramento

"The Governor's budget proposal is a good starting place and I concur with his measured approach. We should establish a rainy day fund, reduce our debt, and prudently plan for any unforeseen future economic downturn. Notwithstanding the Governor's proposal however, we must go further to strategically restore cuts made in prior budgets and increase funding for essential services like education, services to our most vulnerable populations, and the courts. Also, we need to reform our foster care system to improve safety and outcomes. We must also make necessary improvements to our infrastructure to ensure safe working conditions for our state employees such as those who work at the Board of Equalization building in Sacramento. Thanks to our improving economy, we can set our sights on long-range fiscal planning for a prosperous and thriving California."

Sen. Andy Vidak, R-Hanford

Governor Brown, why don't you come to your senses?

In 2008, 52 percent of the electorate voted to pass Proposition 1A, which allowed the State of California to issue up to $9.95 billion in bonds to construct a high speed train. In addition to allowing the state to issue bonds, Proposition 1A set a number of conditions that the high-speed train had to achieve.

Since the passage of Proposition 1A, the voters have learned that the HSR project will not be able to meet any of the promises that were laid out before the voters. Below are five areas where the train is failing to live up to its promises to voters:

Cost. The supporters of Proposition 1A told the voters that the cost to complete the entire project would be around $33 billion. Additionally, supporters argued that the state investment in this would be no more than $11 billion, with the belief that the federal government would provide an additional $11 billion and private capital would provide the final $11 billion. Since then the authority itself has projected that the final cost of the project could exceed $100 billion, there is still no sign of private investors and the chair of the Senate Transportation and Housing committee recently said that "Californians might be spending $300 or $350 billion" on the system.

Time. Voters were promised that they would be able to get from Los Angeles to San Francisco in two hours and 40 minutes. Current estimates now show that the train will not be able to meet this time requirement; instead it is believed that the train ride from Los Angeles to San Francisco will take over three hours.

Speed. In the voter pamphlet the voters were promised that the train would be able to achieve and sustain speeds of 220 mph throughout the entire trip. We now know that this is false, and the authority itself has said that there will be numerous stretches of the trip where the train will have to maintain lower speeds for safety and to curb excessive noise in urban neighborhoods.

Existing Corridors. Voters were told that to reduce impacts to the environment and mitigate the use of eminent domain the train route would follow existing transportation and utility corridors. From the route maps that have been released by the authority we know this to be untrue. The HSR route will plow through family farms and tear apart businesses that have been in operation for generations.

Dedicated System. HSR was supposed to have a dedicated track system so it could meet the speed and time requirements as presented to voters. Now we learn that in certain parts of the state the HSR Authority plans a "blended" track system, which will mean reduced speeds and increased travel times. Again, not what was promised.

For these reasons and more, the voters of California have started to question HSR. A recent LA Times poll found that 52 percent of Californians are now opposed to the project and 70 percent want a re-vote on HSR.

Hijacking cap-and-trade dollars to fund High-Speed Rail is clearly a desperate measure. As columnist Dan Walters put it, "the diversion is more likely to be dumping more money into a bottomless rathole."

California Community Colleges Chancellor Brice W. Harris

After years of budget cuts forced us to turn away hundreds of thousands of students, Gov. Brown's proposal is welcome news for California and for the economy. With an 11.4 percent increase in funding we are now on the way to adding back the much needed classes that will restore our system's ability to provide educational opportunities for those seeking to improve their lives at community colleges. The proposed budget also is in lockstep with our Board of Governors' Student Success Initiative, which aims to increase the number of students who complete certificates, degrees or transfer to four-year institutions. It provides resources to strengthen support services for students and help close achievement gaps. We embrace the governor's call to continue to improve and streamline transfer opportunities across all segments of higher education. Simply put, this proposed budget does more to help community college students than any in recent memory.

Assemblyman Dan Logue, R-Marysville

I am pleased that Governor Brown is carefully guarding the state's surplus. While California is turning the corner on the state's long-term problems, now is not the time to spend any additional unexpected revenue. Hard-working Californians paid the price for years of irresponsible budget choices by Sacramento liberals with years of cuts to education, public safety and social services. Our state is finally making progress on the budget outlook, and we must exercise caution and fiscal restraint to ensure we avoid the mistakes of the past.

Assemblywoman Nora Campos, D-San Jose

Over the last three years, Democrats and Californians have made some hard choices to put the state on solid footing. Governor Brown's proposal today appears to be in step with the responsible budget blueprint that Democrats have laid out.

I will take a close look at the governor's proposal, and will look in particular for ways we can improve the job climate in the state. We must keep our eye on the ball and continue to find ways to create jobs, because, even though the economy is improving, we still have more than 1 million people looking for work.

Sen. Mimi Walters, R-Irvine

"There is a great deal to like in the governor's stated goals with this budget; while I may question the wisdom of some of the governor's spending priorities, I was pleased with his stated commitment to fiscal restraint. My hope is that his words are not fiction, and that this budget is not a political tool used in the way the governor has in past budgets.

"Specifically, I support the governor's commitment to paying down the state's "Wall of Debt," and his recognition of the projected $354.5 billion debt and pension liabilities problem that remains unresolved. Failure to address these looming fiscal issues will continue to jeopardize California's long-term stability.

"I also appreciate the governor's stated goal of not spending temporary revenues on on-going spending programs. Such budgeting practices contributed substantially to the previous fiscal downturns, which were greatly exacerbated by the recession. Governor Brown correctly warns of the volatile nature of California's reliance on capital gains tax revenues and the stock market.

"Our challenge will be to ensure that the compulsive spending habits of the Legislature do not continue to indebt Californians in the future"

Sen. Anthony Cannella, R-Ceres

I am pleased that Governor Brown understands the need to continue to pay down our debt and take a measured approach to spending after years of budget deficits. As we look at budget surpluses, we need to build a robust rainy day fund and make sure that we do not use it on new programs that require ongoing spending. It is important to recognize that state revenue is volatile. We would be doing the state a disservice by spending the surplus after years of deficits.

"I appreciate the Governor's continued commitment to strengthening our education system. The Local Control Funding Formula helps even the playing field for students. Education is key to the future of our state.

Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, D-Concord

"The Governor's budget proposal devotes special attention to helping schools transition to the new Smarter Balanced Assessments by designating $46.5 million to implement AB 484, which I authored, to establish a more advanced student assessment system aligned to the Common Core State Standards in English-language arts and mathematics beginning in the 2014-15 school year. These new, computer-based assessments reflect the real world knowledge needed for young people to succeed in college and careers.

Additionally, the Governor is further reinvesting in education by closing the gap on remaining deferrals to K-12 schools, boosting Prop 98 funding by $10 billion, and continuing to implement the Local Control Funding Formula to provide school districts with a higher level of base funding while also providing additional resources for low income students, English language learners and foster youth.

Finally, one thing we've learned over the past several years is how volatile our state economy can be with alternating boom and bust cycles. That's why it's critically important to continue to save in years when revenues are high in order to ride out the lean years and avoid cuts to education and social services in the future."

Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, R-Twin Peaks

"After picking the pockets and balancing California's budget on the backs of hardworking taxpayers through the largest Tax increase in State history, Governor Brown this morning declared all of California's problems magically solved. It must be nice to view the State's problems through such rose-colored lenses. The reality is, a magnitude of problems still face California.

"The Governor's surplus is a myth. It will be short-lived, as businesses flee the state to escape Prop. 30. This so-called surplus is largely due to a one-time Tax increase bailout - this is no long-term solution.

"There are several flaws with today's Budget proposal:

- The Governor's budget today fails to address the $218 Billion in unfunded Pension liabilities which the State still faces. This problem is not going away.

- While the Legislative Analysts Office (LAO) proposes a $5 Billion in rainy day funds, the Governor is setting aside only $1 Billion.

- Despite his call for fiscal restraint, the Governor shows little restraint in spending, suggesting billions of dollars in increased spending (a 9% increase in spending). Plain and simple, these funds were confiscated from the pockets of hardworking Californians in order to redistribute to his cronies in Sacramento.

- The Governor makes jest of the drought situation in our Central Valley, suggesting that government can't make it rain. But the fact is, the government CAN and did create a drought. This Governor now ignores real solutions, which include an increase in water storage and a statewide water management plan that respects every region.

- The Governor proposes making it easier for local jurisdictions to raise taxes, by lowering the approval threshold for tax increases, to 55%. This would be disastrous for homeowners and taxpayers.

- The Governor continues to throw money at the High-Speed Rail boondoggle

- Keeping the pay-to-play system alive, Governor Brown has provided pay increases to the teachers unions, who are among the same groups that just flooded his Campaign account with more than $1 Million just two weeks ago. Despite these increases, and an increase in education spending by $10 Billion, little to no money of that will ever be seen in the classroom. California's tradition of failing our children continues.

- Governor Brown is proposing an additional release of inmates further endangering the public safety in California, although this time it includes aging and infirm inmates. One has to ask why the Governor didn't think to propose their release first, rather than releasing 10,000 other criminals onto our streets - including a violent criminal who raped and murdered a woman after his release.

"The facts remain:

- Nearly 2 Million Californians are still unemployed.

- 1 in 4 Californians now living in Poverty on Jerry Brown's watch.

- And 1 Million Californians are losing their healthcare due to ObamaCare.

"The real bottomline: the fiscal outlook for Millions of Californians isn't as rosy as Jerry Brown would have you believe."

Assemblyman Don Wagner, D-Irvine

"There are several things to like about the governor's budget proposal. Most importantly, the budget properly recognizes that the surplus will be short-lived. It is artificial since it comes from - to use the governor's words - a 'windfall' in capital gains receipts and 'temporary' tax increases. It is wise for the governor to urge 'fiscal restraint' given the nature of this surplus. Unfortunately, there has been very little done by Sacramento over the last few years to fix our underlying structural problems and to set us on a more sustainable path towards creating a lasting surplus.
"On education, I appreciate the governor's attempt to make good on the promise that new tax revenue will be used to protect our schools. That was a major goal of Republican legislative efforts last year. Whether enough has been dedicated to education and whether the governor's new funding formula is implemented properly are details that remain to be worked out, but I think a good start has been made.
"I am also very glad to see over $100 million in additional spending for our courts. The judiciary has been strangled over the last few years, which causes very real pain to very real people as they look to the courts for justice. This relief for the courts is a start towards rebuilding our judicial system.
"Finally, I applaud the governor's plan to build up our Rainy Day fund and to reduce long term debt, apparently by about $11 billion in this fiscal year. However, while that seems like a lot in debt repayment, the budget makes clear that this $11 billion is only a small percentage of our total debt. So I would like to see a larger percentage of the budget go to both the Rainy Day fund and to pay down the debts run up in prior years, rather than to adopt a rash of new and unsustainable spending. That mistake has been made in the past, got us into the deficit situation we found ourselves in over the last several years, and should be avoided.
"The way to avoid that mistake, of course, is to recognize that it happened, which the governor's budget does, and then to enact responsible legislation that will create jobs to grow our economy. My Republican colleagues and I will work hard to get that legislation passed, and will gladly join with the governor and our Democratic colleagues to accomplish that goal. We need to make California competitive again."

Kathy Kneer, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California

"The State Budget proposal presents some good news for Medi-Cal providers. We truly appreciate that the Governor is proposing to stop the recoupment of the 10 percent cut in reimbursement rates paid to Medi-Cal providers. This is critical to maintaining provider participation in the Medi-Cal program as it expands to serve the newly eligible individuals under the Affordable Care Act.

"We are hopeful that through the budget process we can rescind the 10 percent Medi-Cal reimbursement rate cut currently in effect. California's reimbursement rates are among the lowest in the nation and that was before the 10 percent cut that this budget would keep in place.

"Planned Parenthood's costs for providing preventive and reproductive health services - like life-saving breast and cervical cancer screenings, STD testing/treatment and contraceptive services - aren't going down and continuing the 10 percent Medi-Cal cut puts providers in a very difficult situation. With the advent of the Affordable Care Act, California should focus on efforts to provide more services, not less, and we will work within the budget process to fully restore Medi-Cal funding.

"Another positive sign is that the Budget proposes to expand comprehensive coverage and pay out?of?pocket costs for pregnancy?only Medi?Cal beneficiaries electing to receive comprehensive coverage through Covered California beginning in January. We look forward to working with the administration and Legislature to remove barriers for women to receive comprehensive and essential pre-natal care."

Sen. Ted Gaines, R-Roseville

"I support Governor Brown's attempts to reduce our wall of debt and establish some semblance of a rainy day fund. However, the budget also proposes increased spending by more than $8 billion with new funding for projects like high-speed rail.

At a time when we should be seriously buckling down and tightening our belts, the Governor has taken the rosier budget outlook as license to charge ahead with a spending spree. Creating new programs based on funding that is not guaranteed in the future is a recipe for disaster.

It is critical that we rein in spending and remain in the 'black' so that California never falls back into the fiscal pit we've dug ourselves into in the past. I agree that 'wisdom and prudence should be the order of the day.' Now, it's time to live by it."

Assemblyman Henry Perea, D-Fresno

"I support Governor Brown's attempts to reduce our wall of debt and establish some semblance of a rainy day fund. However, the budget also proposes increased spending by more than $8 billion with new funding for projects like high-speed rail.

At a time when we should be seriously buckling down and tightening our belts, the Governor has taken the rosier budget outlook as license to charge ahead with a spending spree. Creating new programs based on funding that is not guaranteed in the future is a recipe for disaster.

It is critical that we rein in spending and remain in the 'black' so that California never falls back into the fiscal pit we've dug ourselves into in the past. I agree that 'wisdom and prudence should be the order of the day.' Now, it's time to live by it."

George Runner, member Board of Equalization

"A budget that demonstrates fiscal restraint is essential for California to stay on track. The Governor's high speed rail funding plan shows at least some of his funding priorities are off track.

"Increased revenues are primarily the result of temporary tax increases that will soon expire. California cannot solve its long-term budget problems by relying on temporary solutions that undermine job creation and economic growth.

"A comprehensive plan must prepare for the ending of the temporary tax increases Californians imposed on themselves to get out of the fiscal hole of overspending and recession.

"It is vital to set aside reserves for future shortfalls, or the Legislature may push to make temporary tax increases permanent. A strong rainy day fund is an important part of ensuring our state's fiscal stability.

"California's budget challenges will only be truly solved when a strong and healthy private sector is able to create jobs and opportunity for more Californians."

Jim Mayer, CEO & President of California Forward:

Governor Brown's budget proposal strengthens critical reforms to how California is governed. The budget would improve fiscal management, bolster the delivery of community services, invest in critical infrastructure and encourage the creation of well-paying jobs.

The specifics matter and over the next six months policy-makers will have the chance to incorporate the best thinking that has been developed through California Forward's Partnership for Community Excellence, the Economic Summit and other civic collaboratives. While increasing revenues creates more opportunities for spending, realizing the benefits of current reforms will require the Governor's sense of urgency, the Legislature's increasing interest in the long-term impacts, and a commitment to excellence in implementation.

Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco

"Fortunately, California's fiscal outlook continues to be optimistic, as is reflected in the budget proposal released today by Governor Brown. The Governor makes a strong case for using the state's surplus funds to address the wall of debt and build a reserve that will help safeguard us against future economic downturns. As we pursue these important responsibilities, we must also develop a balanced, long-term plan for recovery. For too many years we have made devastating cuts to vital services that support students, working families and elderly and disabled Californians. Significant reinvestment in education and health and human services is needed to further stimulate our economy and restore some amount of economic justice to the many people who have gone without critical assistance in recent years.

"As Chair of the Senate Budget Committee, I am eager to fully analyze the Governor's budget plan and work together with my colleagues in both the Senate and Assembly, and the people of California, to deliver a final, on-time budget that helps balance the top funding priorities of our state."

California Manufacturers & Technology Association President Jack Stewart:

"Gov. Jerry Brown proposed a prudent and balanced budget today that will help ensure that future budgets can also be balanced while the economy continues to recover to full strength.
He noted that California is a relatively high tax state and we appreciate that his budget does not include new tax proposals. The combination of spending restraint and no new taxes is a positive sign for manufacturers and others looking to invest and locate in California.
We commend the Governor for presenting a responsible budget that works toward an improved economy while focusing on our schools, health care and public safety."

Bill Wagner, president of the American Council of Engineering Companies-California.

ACEC California applauds Governor Brown for proposing a state budget which improves state funding for transportation, educational facilities, clean energy, water supply, water quality and environmental protection. Business organizations such as ACEC California have been talking about infrastructure funding problems for years. It is time for solutions, and we look forward to working with Governor Brown and the Legislature to meet our state's needs.

California Federation of Teachers

"We are heartened to see that the Governor's proposed budget acknowledges the crisis in funding in our educational system and the state's social services, but it will not support the necessary and vital changes we need immediately to protect students in our schools and colleges now against becoming a gap generation that suffers from our cutbacks," said Joshua Pechthalt, President of the California Federation of Teachers. "Today is a rainy day. Until 2012, when we passed Prop 30, we have spent the last two decades not only cutting education funding to the bone but borrowing against our future. It's not good enough to just pay our debt, we need to pay it back with interest - making sure today's children and college students have the resources they need in our schools and in our communities to be successful tomorrow."

"The importance of Prop 30 is shown in a budget that increases, rightly, funding in all education, health and human services, and other needed areas that were decimated under the previous administration," added CFT Secretary-Treasurer Jeff Freitas. "However, in K-12 education, the Governor has focused only on paying off deferrals and re-distributing existing funds instead of addressing the central barrier to student success: poverty in and around our schools. We need to connect health and human services with the educational system. We need to provide critical resources including health professionals, mental health services and after school opportunities like open libraries if we truly want to protect California's future. With economic disparity more profound than at any point since the Great Depression, this is a time to be bold, not cautious."

"Addressing these issues should be Gov. Brown's bequest to California, the focus of his next and last term," said Pechthalt. "Gov. Brown is in the home stretch of his career, and these next few years will be remembered. As the Governor pushes hard on legacy-builders like the High Speed Rail project and the Delta tunnels, I hope he remembers that education is lasting infrastructure, too. In fact, it is the most vital form of infrastructure there is. Without an educated population, our economy and democracy will never truly be sound, no matter how much we save."

Kimberly Horiuchi, criminal justice and drug policy attorney for the ACLU of California

"The governor's budget includes some positive elements. The presumption of split sentencing will help ensure people are able to successfully transition back into the community without committing additional crimes, and requiring counties seeking state money for jail construction to prioritize reducing pre-trial populations by using risk assessment tools will increase public safety and ease jail overcrowding. Ultimately, however, the long term solution for California's prison crisis is sentencing reform."

Sen. Jim Beall, D-San Jose

"Right now, we have the revenue to not only begin undoing the damage created by the recession but to prepare for fiscal emergencies. Paying down the debts owed to our schools, setting up a prudent reserve fund, and bolstering college funding are priorities for California's future.

"The Governor's decision to restore some of the lost funding for human services, medical, and mental health is a positive step. Increasing access to mental health services is a wise investment that will keep people out of jail and prison and save taxpayer dollars.''

Assemblyman Chris Holden, D-Pasadena

"I am very pleased that the state's finances continue to turn around and that Governor Brown has proposed reinvesting in California's future while maintaining budget stability. That's good news for our state and for the 41st Assembly District.

This budget reverses the severe cuts experienced by our public schools and colleges during the recent recession. It means our local school districts will see increases in K-12 school funding by $2,188 per student over last year. Our community colleges, such as Pasadena City College, Citrus, and Mt. San Antonio will also see an increase in funding that will allow them to restore much needed classes.

I applaud the Governor for reinvesting in California's infrastructure needs in a fiscally responsible manner including moving forward with deferred maintenance to our parks and roadways.

The Governor's proposed budget will put California on solid ground to build up reserves, pay down debt, and invest in a growing economy."

Pasquale Romano, chief executive of the open electric vehicle charging network ChargePoint

"We commend Governor Brown for his steadfast commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. His state budget proposal makes major investments in technology and commonsense programs to encourage the use of zero emission vehicles, including $200 million to accelerate the transition to low carbon transportation. This is the cornerstone to ensuring EV adoption statewide and is critical to maintaining California's leadership role in EV infrastructure. At ChargePoint, we have built the largest electric vehicle charging network in California and throughout the county, and we stand ready to expand as more and more residents and municipalities purchase EVs."

Assemblyman Luis Alejo, D-Watsonville

"When I first arrived in Sacramento in 2011, the state faced a $20 billion shortfall and California's economic outlook was gloomy at best. Since then, our state's fiscal situation has changed dramatically. As we head into Fiscal Year 2014-15, I'm proud to say that California possesses its most stable fiscal footing in more than a decade.

As such, Governor Jerry Brown and Assembly Democrats are committed to maintaining stability and expanding opportunity by instituting a rainy day fund, paying down our burdensome wall of debt, and supporting proposals that advance these goals. In doing so, we can avoid mistakes of the past and ensure that education and other vital services in California are protected from the volatile nature of today's economy.

In addition, this year's Budget will provide for many of the issues that I tirelessly advocated for in 2013. The 2014-15 Budget proposes $64.7 million to implement my bill, AB 60, to grant undocumented immigrants the opportunity to apply for driver's licenses--creating 5 additional Department of Motor Vehicle locations with a need for 822 new employees.

Likewise, the Budget proposes resources for another issue I championed in 2013: access to safe drinking water. The Governor plans to allocate $11.9 million to more effectively manage groundwater and improve drinking water in disadvantaged communities, $4 million to provide safe drinking water to severely disadvantaged communities with contaminated drinking water, and $7 million to provide grants to small and severely disadvantaged communities to comply with water quality regulations, protect surface and groundwater quality, and reduce threats to public health and safety. These programs are particularly important in areas like the Salinas Valley.

Furthermore, this is the year to fix the situation surrounding the dissolution of Redevelopment Agencies (RDAs) by creating new tools for economic development for economically disadvantaged communities. By creating these tools, we will better equip local governments across the state with the foundations needed for a more economically vibrant California.

Governor Brown's proposal provides a starting point on key issues that are important to working families while strengthening our economic recovery. I anticipate that the legislature will work expeditiously to finalize another on-time balanced budget and I am proud to support this proposal."

Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia, president of the California State Association of Counties

"We commend the Governor for presenting a budget proposal that balances the need for continued fiscal discipline - which has helped the state recover from the recession - and the importance of investing in education, health care, public safety, and rebuilding the state's aging infrastructure. California counties are uniquely positioned to work with the Governor and the Legislature on achieving our mutual goal of healthy and safe communities.

In particular, counties are gratified that the Governor recognizes health care and public safety as key priorities for improving our communities. Focusing on areas of need with an eye towards integration of services can improve outcomes for individuals, families, and California as a whole. In our role as providers of critical public safety, health care and mental health services at the local level, counties are committed to engaging the Governor and the Legislature in a dialogue about targeted investments for vulnerable populations that can reduce recidivism, improve health outcomes, and save money. Further, CSAC greatly appreciates the Governor's significant commitment to public safety and, in particular, support for 2011 realignment as counties continue to grapple with issues associated with long-term offenders in our county jails.

We are also happy to see that the Governor proposes to invest a significant portion of the Cap and Trade revenue, including a partial repayment of last year's loan, to a variety of programs that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and achieve other co-benefits such as improving public health. Local governments are well-positioned to help in that effort with green and efficient energy programs and the development of sustainable communities. We look forward to working with the Governor and Legislature to maximize the role local governments can play in this endeavor.

The Governor's proposal to eliminate the "Wall of Debt" by 2017-18 includes scheduled repayments of obligations for local government reimbursable mandates starting in 2015-16 of about $900 million. Counties, cities, and special districts have borne these costs on their own since the early 2000's and we see the benefit of accelerating these payments and resolving this long-standing issue. That said, counties are interested in a broader discussion about the mandate system and are prepared for a focused dialogue to develop reforms that establish clear authority for providing services and receiving reimbursement, clear responsibility for uniformity where it is appropriate, and clarity for taxpayers.

California's counties stand ready to work with the Governor and the Legislature to continue to restore the promise and opportunities of the Golden State and ensure a safe and healthy environment for our communities.
The California State Association of Counties is the voice of California's 58 counties at the state and federal level."

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego

"I am most encouraged to see the $6 billion year-over-year increase to our K-12 schools, which were devastated by several years' worth of deferred funding, as well as a 7 percent increase for community college funding. These alone are a huge boost to the future of the 80th Assembly District. I am also glad to see the Governor agrees with the Assembly Democrats' wish to establish a 'rainy day fund' to prevent the kind of sharp cuts to vital state programs that we saw during down economic times in the past decade. Lastly, I am hopeful that, by the end of this process, more resources will be available for affordable quality child care and preschool for California's working families."

Assemblyman Brian Maienschein, R-San Diego

"The state's unexpected budget surplus presents a rare opportunity for lawmakers to finally turn the corner on California's ongoing budget problems.
I welcome the improved outlook, but I hope all legislators will exercise fiscal restraint to ensure that our state does not repeat the mistakes of the past."

Assemblymember Maienschein expressed disappointment that some legislators have proposed spending the entire budget "surplus" as opposed to looking into savings opportunities. He feels the only way to save for the future is to set aside money in a rainy day fund reserve.

In order to expand California's economic recovery, Maienschein said that job creation should continue to be a top budget priority for the Legislature this year. Investing in one-time needs that promote job creation, like transportation, water and school infrastructure projects, will generate dividends for the state budget and help get people back to work.

"Encouraging a strong economy remains one of my highest priorities and I will continue to make decisions that I believe will increase job opportunities for all in the San Diego region and the state. Having an excellent public education system is also key to a strong economy. I will continue to support reforms that improve K-12 classroom instruction so all students have the opportunity to achieve their potential. In our colleges and universities, I support efforts to hold the line on tuition so students can focus more on their studies and graduate with less debt," Maienschein said.

Additionally, using some of the funds to assist in our on-going public safety issues is a prudent use of the surplus. "With Realignment continuing to put strain on our local law enforcement agencies, it is our responsibility to help alleviate some of the pressure in any way we can," Maienschein said. "One-time programs to assist with enhanced training or increasing the number of available beds, is critical to getting our public safety issues under control."

Assemblyman Anthony Rendon, D-Lakewood

"I'm pleased to see the Governor acknowledging the immediate need to address the state's clean water supply problem. However, the needs of our state are much bigger than what is allocated in the budget. The voters have not passed a water bond since 2006 and much of the funding is about to run out. Unless we act this year, the voters will be presented with and likely to reject the flawed pork-laden late-night water bond deal that was passed by the Legislature in 2009. The Assembly has proposed a streamlined water bond proposal without earmarks that has gone through the most extensive public hearing process in history. I think the work that the Assembly has accomplished deserves an opportunity to be considered seriously and put forth to the state's voters."

Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont

"This year's budget proposal shows not only the amazing turnaround the state has achieved in the past three years, but also the major challenge ahead for California: how do we bring down our wall of debt while making the key investments that will best benefit the state in the long term?

I support the increased investment to our schools and universities and paying down the deferrals that have accumulating from previous economic slowdowns. This is a responsible approach that supports our students who have seen tuition increases and course cutbacks that have not only hurt their ability to graduate on time, but have also adversely affected out state's workforce. Educating a 21st-century workforce is vital to our long-term economic growth.

As chairman of the Assembly's Judiciary Committee, I believe the $100 million-dollar on-going funding to the courts is a first-step as we begin deliberations on how to better achieve access to justice in our state. I will continue to work for increased funding to help our courts balance their budgets and meet the needs of all Californians and businesses who are seeking legal assistance or hoping to resolve their legal disputes in a timely manner. The public's access to our courts must be preserved."

Assemblyman Brian Nestande, R- Palm Desert, and Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen, R-Modesto

"The practice of deferring education dollars to pay for other state programs had gotten out of control. I am pleased that Governor Brown has taken a very proactive approach to paying down these deferrals, which at the beginning of 2013, topped more than $10 billion. This will prevent schools from paying millions of dollars a year in interest on loans, and that money can go back into the classroom where it belongs," said Nestande.

Nestande and Olsen introduced ACA 2 last year, a measure that would prohibit the use of education deferrals as a mechanism to pay for other state programs while shortchanging our school districts. Beginning in the 2001-02 school year as a small and temporary budget solution, and increasing significantly in 2008-09, California has relied excessively on budgetary and cash deferrals to K-12 school districts and community colleges to balance the state budget and pay for other state programs, while leaving local school districts cash strapped.

"I applaud Governor Brown's efforts to pay the remaining $6 billion debt owed to our schools due to cash deferrals. Our goal with ACA 2 was to make sure schools would be paid back. I urge my Democrat colleagues to adopt this part of the Governor's budget. Pretending to fund Prop 98 through deferrals while in reality bankrupting our schools should never be used as a budget tool," said Olsen.

Erica Murray, president and chief executive of the California Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems

"California's public health care systems applaud the Administration's ongoing efforts to restore fiscal stability and fully implement health reform. Access to coverage has already been extended to millions of Californians through the Med-Cal expansion and Covered California, and we are pleased to see the Governor's budget proposal validate California's leading role in implementing the ACA. Public health care systems are fully committed to doing everything we can to fulfill the promise of the ACA and improve the health of all Californians. Over the last several years, public health care systems helped California to take full advantage of the Medicaid expansion, by leading early coverage expansion efforts to enroll more than 660,000 low-income uninsured adults through the Low Income Health Program. Public health care systems are continuing to work diligently to ensure seamless continuity of care as enrollees transition from the LIHP program into Medi-Cal and Covered California.

The Governor's budget proposal includes $900 million in projected state budget savings associated with the redirection of county funding for indigent care in FY 2014-15. Considering the exciting opportunity that we have to build on our current momentum, we look forward to working with the Legislature and Administration to arrive at a realignment figure that reflects initial health reform experience and enables California's public health care systems to continue to successfully implement health reform while maintaining a strong, viable safety net for those who need care or remain uninsured. It is critical that these estimates are as accurate as possible to ensure that public health care systems have the funding they need to continue serving the millions of patients who rely on these systems of care."

Abel Maldonado, former Lt. Governor and Republican candidate for governor

"Too many Californians are suffering today because our state's economy is lagging so badly. California's continued sky high unemployment -- way above the national average -- is proof that Jerry Brown's policies are just not working for the people of our state.

California is one of the five worst states in the nation for its business tax climate, a key driver impacting job creation (only New York and New Jersey are worse). And it's the worst state in the nation in which to do business, in large part because of its unreasonable tax and regulatory climate.

Jerry Brown's budget proposal does little to help our state create the jobs needed so Californians can continue to live here and not have to look beyond our borders for economic opportunity. It leaves in place the nation's highest income and sales tax rates. There is no meaningful reform of a byzantine tax system. It undermines Prop 13 taxpayer protections. And the only 'climate' being impacted by California's 'cap and trade' tax is the climate for job creation which is every day punishing the Californians who remain out of work.

Under Jerry Brown's plan, while opening the door to more local government debt, the state will continue to force localities to spend money less efficiently, resulting in less bang for the buck for taxpayers. Schools continue to be forced to 'insource' non-instructional services even when contracting out to the private sector would save money. Local governments are punished if they prohibit the use of expensive union-only project labor agreements on public works projects. Each of these areas, and many more, are opportunities to reform so the high taxes Californians are forced to pay are spent more efficiently. But there's no room for that in Jerry Brown's Administration.

As Governor, I will work to reform and simplify California's complex tax system. I'll reduce the burden on the small businesses we need to grow in order to create jobs. I'll cancel this high-speed rail boondoggle. And I will work every day to make it easier for jobs and opportunity to come back to California, for the benefit of all of our people."

Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, chair of the budget committee

"For the last few years we've been digging California out of a hole, while our schools, infrastructure and social services suffered. Thankfully, today we have healthy revenue forecasts and a plan to capture revenue spikes to protect against future downturns.

With what the Governor proposed today, along with priorities articulated in the Assembly's Budget Blueprint, we could wind up with the best budget California's had in years. One that's not only good for this upcoming year but also the future.

Incorporating priorities from the Governor's proposal and the Assembly's, California has the opportunity for a budget that invests in students from childhood through college, uses cap and trade revenues to spur our economy, lifts children out of poverty, and puts workers into jobs. With unanimity on the need for a Rainy Day Fund and future reserves, both proposals provide a roadmap for a stronger future.

I'm pleased Governor Brown prioritized investment in K-12, community college and higher education, cornerstones of California's economy. The proposed strategic use of one-time funds for infrastructure will also provide good, and needed, jobs.

The Assembly Budget Committee has begun its preparations for the vigorous public hearings that will shape the final budget. Those discussions are what will guarantee the final budget reflects the values, priorities and aspirations of the people of California."

Senator Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord

"Governor Brown's proposed budget is a responsible, prudent plan for California. His proposal wisely uses our surplus to tackle our debt, reinvest in education, and save money for the future. Billions in additional funds for K-12 public education--as well as increased funding for our public university systems--will help working families now and pay dividends for years to come. The Governor's proposals to pay down the debt and create a rainy day fund will help create long-term economic stability for our state. After years of making tough cuts, it is refreshing to engage in a budget discussion focused on reinvestment."

Statements from the Charge Ahead California steering:

Coalition for Clean Air:

"More Californians live near a highway or busy road than do the residents of any other state. So speeding the transition to cleaner cars, trucks and buses is a critical part of any strategy to reduce the impacts of pollution on people. Governor Brown did the right thing by making clean transportation a high priority in his budget." - Bill Magavern, Policy Director

Communities for a Better Environment:

"Low-income neighborhoods and communities of color have suffered the worst health and economic consequences of the fossil fuel economy. Although CBE does not believe Cap-and-Trade is an effective economic model to aggressively reduce greenhouse gas emissions in California, we support prioritizing the benefits of zero emission transportation to communities with the greatest needs." - Bahram Fazeli, Policy Director

Environment California:
"California has an opportunity to head off the worst impacts of climate change on local communities. What makes today's announcement so important is that it means that the proven technology that can get us there will be accessible to tens of thousands more families and businesses. - Michelle Kinman, Clean Energy Advocate

The Greenlining Institute:
"We're glad to see resources going into clean transportation. This will help fill an urgent need in California's communities of color - both for clean air and good jobs, since many of these vehicles are built right here. More Californians die from traffic-related pollution than traffic accidents, and that needs to change." - Vien Truong, Environmental Equity Director

Natural Resources Defense Council:
"California is yet again on the cutting edge in bringing clean energy policies from the showroom to the freeway. We're leading the nation in putting these vehicles in the hands of Californians who want to improve their air quality while enjoying mobility powered by clean fuel. Today's commitment by the governor makes sure we don't fall behind, and shows that you can step on the accelerator and clean the air at the same time." - Roland Hwang, Transportation Program Director

Corey Timpson, executive director of PICO California

"The recent budget announcement represents positive news for education, which has suffered from deep cuts during the recession years. While these funds are not enough to address the needs of California's students, they will be important as schools and districts implement Local Control Funding Formula and focus new resources on students that historically have not been well served in California - low income students, English language learners, and foster youth.

At the same time, we are deeply concerned about the failure of the proposed budget to balance the need to pay down debt and establish a rainy day fund with the critical importance of reinvesting in vital services that create opportunities for individuals and make communities strong and safe. We are particularly concerned that:

The budget - and by extension the governor's policy priorities -- continues to favor incarceration and private prisons over resources and services that support the successful reentry of formerly incarcerated individuals back into communities. This is morally disgraceful, shortsighted, and at odds with the values and priorities of our faith-based organization. The budget includes some progress in these areas, but not enough.

The budget misses the opportunity to strengthen the Medi-Cal program and instead maintains many of the deep cuts that were previously made to Medi-Cal, which provides health care to almost half of California children. These cuts continue to severely undermine access to care for California's children and families.

The budget fails to address the health needs of Californians who remain uninsured, especially undocumented children and adults, as well as others who do not benefit from ACA expansion.

Proposition 30 put our fiscal house in order. As people of faith and as a statewide organization that committed 16,000 volunteer hours to the passage of Proposition 30, we call on the Governor and the Legislature to put communities first and pass a smart, strategic, and moral budget that works for all Californians."

Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis

"This is a budget for a recovering economy. The Governor's budget pays off more than $11 billion in debt and builds the state's reserve while reinvesting in public schools and the courts, both of which have experienced significant budget cuts in recent years. This budget strengthens the safety net for the state's neediest and most vulnerable residents with proposals including a three year pilot child-care program for low income parents seeking employment. The Governor's budget also begins to address the state's drought and groundwater issues. Additionally, the Governor's budget supports expanding local governments' access to Infrastructure Financing Districts, which enable governments to pay for public works projects without impacting school district's share of property tax or the state general fund. I am pleased to see that the Governor supports this concept, which is very similar to legislation I have twice authored. I look forward to working on this budget with the Governor and my colleagues in the Legislature."

Michele Stillwell-Parvensky of Children's Defense Fund-California

"Governor Brown's initial budget proposal once again fails to recognize the dire need to repair a social safety net that was shredded during five years of budget cuts to critical programs. While the Governor's continued investment in K-12 education is a positive step, children also need health care, quality child care and pre-k, and family supports to survive and flourish.
"We understand the wisdom of preparing for the future; however, it is irresponsible to allocate billions to pay down state debt and build a rainy day fund when one in four California children live in poverty. It has been pouring for California's most vulnerable children and families for years - and now the state has the resources to protect our children and our future by investing in programs that will help create a level playing field for all children.
"The need for re-investing on the state level is made even more pressing by the devastating cuts to federal social safety net programs like food assistance and unemployment benefits, upon which so many Californians rely to support their families.
"Our continued prosperity depends on all of our citizens having a chance to thrive and succeed. On the 50th Anniversary of the War on Poverty, we urge our state lawmakers to use our good fiscal health to restore and strengthen the safety net programs that protect and support our most vulnerable children and families as they find their way out of poverty and into economic security."

Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, D-San Diego

"I am largely pleased with what I heard today from the Governor regarding continued efforts to stabilize the state's finances, decrease our debt, and focus on investing in opportunity, especially in the state's K-12 and higher education systems.

"We have learned that unbridled spending and extreme austerity are not the answers to the state's economic, educational, and healthcare challenges. Thoughtful, targeted investment of our resources towards jobs, education and infrastructure will be the approach will need to take if the state is to grow.

"My job as Chair of this important Subcommittee is to focus on investment in programs aimed at providing a safety net for our most vulnerable Californians, and efficiently and effectively moving people from poverty and dependence to self-sufficiency and independence. That means careful, deliberate examination of these existing programs to determine whether they deliver as advertised."


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