What they’re saying about the State of the State

We’ve got a full story up on the governor’s speech and Legislative leaders’ reactions, but here are some other quarters heard from:

From Assemblyman Sandre Swanson, D-Alameda:

“I am encouraged by the broad themes the Governor emphasized in his address, including making education a larger budget priority than prisons. This is the third state of the state address I have attended since taking office in 2006, and it is probably one of the most important, considering the fact that California is at a crossroads where the next year can define the character and determine the future of the entire State for decades to come.

“The Governor acknowledged that there is a severe financial crisis in California, and I agree with the Governor’s statement that the State needs to make education a priority. We are spending 11 percent of our budget on prisons and only 7 percent on higher education. We need to find a real, long-term solution to this systemic problem by determining our priorities and realizing that we increase the prison population by not instituting an aggressive rehabilitation strategy, failing to reduce prison overcrowding, and failing to respect education and the intellectual potential of our children.

“Privatization of prisons, however, is not the solution. Instead, we need to thoughtfully and critically evaluate the prison system, with a focus toward restructuring the parole system and reducing the recidivism rate, thereby realizing a savings of billions of dollars a year and freeing up funding for education.

“Although I don’t agree with some of the Governor’s solutions, I do agree with his proposals for job training, job development, and tax credits for housing and green technology. Those proposals are worth considering and I look forward to reviewing the details.”

From California Republican Party Chairman Ron Nehring:

“Too many Californians are hurting because the state’s economy is still lagging way behind the nation’s, with higher unemployment and slower growth. The Governor made it clear that improving California’s economy is his top priority in 2010 by promoting economic growth and the job creation that comes with it.

“Solving the state’s current budget crisis starts with fixing the health of California’s economy. Increasing the number of available jobs, supporting small business development, and allowing for more shovel-ready projects to actually get their shovels in the ground will finally create the positive economic results that Californians desperately need.

“With California already at the economic brink, we don’t need more job-killing policies from the Democrats. This is a critical time for all Californians and, hopefully, the Democrat legislators will stop taking their orders from the public employee unions and special interest groups that willingly stand in the way of opportunity, and realize that higher taxes and more red-tape will end up destroying the dream that made California great. We support the Governor’s efforts to re-establish California as a business-friendly environment and help make the Golden State golden again.”

From California Democratic Party Chairman John Burton:

“For the last three years the budget has been balanced on the backs of the aged, the blind, the disabled, the poor and those who are without a strong voice in Sacramento.

“Our sincere hope is that the governor’s call for teamwork extends to members of his own Republican Party in the legislature. California Republicans should at least consider, if not agree to, a tax on oil company profits instead of insisting on what amounts to wholesale divestment from California.”

From former eBay CEO and Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman:

“Governor Schwarzenegger’s remarks were a sober reminder that we have a government that we can no longer afford and we have serious challenges to overcome. I am confident that by focusing on the number one priority for the state, creating a prosperous economy and putting Californians back to work, we will succeed. As Governor, I will focus on implementing targeted tax cuts and eliminating burdensome regulations so it’s easier to create jobs and start new businesses. We must also put an end to the never-ending cycle of wasteful overspending in Sacramento and spend smarter so we can focus on priorities like improving our schools. Time is urgent. Californians cannot afford to let Sacramento politicians in the legislature continue to promote the same failed policies of the past. We must overcome our challenges by counting on the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit that is a hallmark of California, and put in place real, lasting solutions.”

From state Controller John Chiang:

“A year ago, I told the Governor and Legislature that without their courage and collaboration in fixing the budget, there would not be enough cash in the treasury to pay for hard-working Californians’ tax refunds through the spring, and local governments would be hung out to dry. Our cash crisis last year was a shameful chapter in California’s history and a dark reminder of the consequences of a government’s reluctance to make tough decisions quickly.

“We are a year older, and I hope we are a year wiser. Although the deficit is a third of the size of what we faced last year, the one-time solutions and accounting tricks in the last budget pushed more problems into 2010. There are no easy cuts to now bare-bone programs, and federal stimulus funds are drying up.

“I hope we have learned that the best prevention against future payment delays and IOUs is for the Governor and Legislature to quickly provide lasting, responsible budget solutions. I look forward to updating the State’s cash outlook for the year as soon as I have the opportunity to test the cash flow data in the Governor’s budget proposal.”

Lots more after the jump…

From state Sen. Sam Aanestad, R-Grass Valley, a candidate for lieutenant governor:

“It was a very good speech in my opinion. He was emotional. He looked relaxed. His priorities are straight. He wants teamwork. He believes in creating jobs, jobs, jobs. He believes in cutting bureaucratic red tape for key construction projects and exempting green technology from the state sales tax. These are issues that Senate Republicans can support.”

From former Facebook Chief Privacy Officer and Democratic candidate for Attorney General Chris Kelly:

“In his address, the Governor asks ‘What does it say about a state that focuses more on prison uniforms than caps and gowns?’ To me, it says that for six years we’ve had a governor who failed to manage our prisons and now wants to avoid responsibility for the consequences of his mismanagement. This is exactly why I’m running for Attorney General, because the only way to fix what’s broken in California is to put new leaders in charge of California.

“For too long, California has thrown taxpayer money at public safety systems that are failing to keep our communities safe. Prison and sentencing reform have many complex elements and one-stop-shop solutions such as privatization are not the answer. For the Governor to proclaim that the answer to our failing and costly prison system is to move from public to private management is out of touch with the reality of the situation. Accounting gimmicks driven by prison population numbers are not part of a real reform agenda.”

From state Sen. Dave Cogdill, R-Modesto:

“Apologies to Yogi Berra, but it’s déjà vu all over again. The state’s budget challenges once again will take center stage this year and I applaud the Governor for approaching solutions to the state’s chronic fiscal woes with the same tenacity as his first years in office.

“Ensuring more Californians receive paychecks rather than unemployment checks should be the Legislature’s top priority because it is the most effective and responsible way to climb out of this recession.

“For years, Senate Republicans have been calling for California’s fair share of federal tax dollars. Whether it’s due to the burdensome costs of housing illegal immigrant prisoners or Washington, D.C. attaching strings to state funding, California taxpayers send significantly more to the nation’s treasury than we receive in return. “

“Make no mistake about it – 2010 will be a tough year but it’s our duty to act decisively and enact permanent reforms to end the state’s continued fiscal roller coaster.”

From Health Access California Executive Director Anthony Wright:

“The Governor’s speech was anti-jobs and anti-healthcare. The most effective way to create jobs is invest in Californians, and in their health and in services to help all of us get through a tough time. The investment’s impact would be multiplied because of federal matching funds, further helping our economic recovery.

“Yet the Governor proposed tax cuts and credits that would force even deeper reductions in health and human services, resulting in not just more lost jobs but also lost federal matching funds needed for our economy. And the Governor opposed a healthreform that would actually provide significantly more money for California families, our health system, and our economy.

“The pending health reforms in Congress would provide billions of dollars in new and necessary help to California families and small businesses struggling to afford their premiums. As a state with a high uninsured rate and large population of lower-wage workers, California will likely disproportionately benefit.

“Health reform would also expand Medicaid for 1.5 million low-income uninsured Californians in 2013 or 2014, with the federal government picking up the full cost of that expansion for the first several years. Only eight years from now–two Governors from now–would there be any additional cost to the state of California, and those dollars will be matched at more than a 4:1 rate.

“For California, health reform is a benefit, not a burden–and its a bargain to boot. Any additional costs are minimal and don’t even take effect until eight or nine years from now, and would be offset by savings in other areas. And in return for such investments, our state would cover over 1.5 million more Californians through Medi-Cal, with the federal government picking up over 80% of the tab–a better match than our current programs now.”

“The Governor’s hypocrisy on health reform is stunning. Two years ago, the Governor was willing to raise the revenues needed to expand Medicaid to cover the same population–with the federal government contributing 50% of the cost. Now, the Governor opposes the same expansion when the federal government is offering well over 80% of the cost.

“In the health reform bill, some states do better than California, some do worse. We support additional federal assistance for California, but the way to argue for more money is not to misrepresent the bill. And the best way to get more money from our health care system, and our economy, is to make the investments now that will bring in the federal money that is already sitting there with our name on it.”

From County Welfare Directors Association Executive Director Frank Mecca:

“The Governor says he wants to create jobs, but devastating cuts to the social safety net have killed jobs and dimmed the employment prospects for tens of thousands of California families and children. The Governor’s cuts to child care and support services for CalWORKS families will diminish the chances of finding work for almost 40,000 families, and his threatened elimination of the In-Home Supportive Services program will put 350,000 people out of work instantly and increase California’s unemployment rate from 12.3 to 14.2 percent.

“The Governor’s 2009 veto of $120 million in services to foster youth will make his goal to reduce prison costs an even higher hurdle; the transitional services he single-handedly eliminated are what often makes the difference in leading a child who ages out of foster care toward employment and a productive adulthood, rather than a life on the streets or in jail.

“If the Governor’s rhetoric is to match reality, he and the Legislature will have to hold the line against more cuts to the services that displaced Californians need to get back to work and to a tattered safety net that is the only thing keeping millions children fed, out of harm’s way, and enabling hundreds of thousands of seniors and people with disabilities to live safely in their homes.”

From Children Now President Ted Lempert:

“California’s prosperity or demise will be determined by how well lawmakers can address the education and health issues undermining the development of the state’s 9.4 million children. Clearly, a long-term and sustainable economic recovery relies on the strength of future generations. But, as Children Now’s 2010 California Report Card shows, children’s well-being in the state continues to decline. This is due in large part to underinvestment in and poor prioritization of the state’s most valuable asset: our kids.”

From Services Employees International Union (SEIU) California President Bill Lloyd:

“After a long and painful recession, 2010 is the year that we must start rebuilding our state and investing in our future. We applaud the Governor’s commitment to protecting children’s education, and urge him to commit to protecting children’s health and welfare as well.

“The Governor is right: jobs are indeed Californians’ top priority right now. That’s why we continue to be puzzled by his threats to cut hundreds of thousands of jobs in home care and other vital human services, cuts that will lengthen California’s downturn, slow our recovery, and raise our unemployment rate to 14.2%.

“It’s unfortunate that instead of working to ensure all California families have the opportunity to earn retirement security, the Governor has chosen to scapegoat public employees using fuzzy math and scare tactics.

“Finally, the Governor pointed to the need to reform California’s tax system. We couldn’t agree more with the need. We won’t be able to invest in California, rebuild our middle class, and strengthen our schools, our colleges, our healthcare, our economy, and the public services we all rely on until everyone – including the corporate special interests who have been the only winners in the past several budgets – pay their fair share at last.”

From California Labor Federation Executive Secretary-Treasurer Art Pulaski:

“At a time when California families are desperate for real leadership, Governor Schwarzenegger showed once again that he isn’t up to the task. The last thing our state needs is more of the same: policies that favor wealthy corporations at the expense of the middle class and economic recovery.

“Working people deserve a better plan than our Governor is giving us. Schwarzenegger’s plan to balance the budget on the backs of working people while giving a free ride to corporations and the wealthiest Californians will bankrupt the state and prevent economic recovery. The Governor’s tax reform proposals would shift the burden of funding state services from the wealthiest 1% to the middle class, while decreasing revenue overall. Real reform would close corporate tax loopholes that bleed billions of dollars away from state services every year.

“We agree with the Governor that the state should invest more resources for job training and jobs for the future. However, the Governor proposes to fund training programs by robbing workers. The Governor’s proposal takes money out of the state’s Disability Insurance fund, a safety net funded completely by worker dollars.

“Real economic recovery comes from investment in infrastructure, new technology and manufacturing that create good jobs with decent pay and benefits. A first step for economic recovery would be to end the illegal furloughs of state workers that drain money from the economy and eliminate jobs essential to running the state.

“The perfect storm of job loss, slashed wages, corporate tax giveaways and massive cuts in state spending threatens to drown any chance of an economic recovery. We urge the Governor to adopt real policies of change — plans that will put Californians back to work and spur economic recovery. The California Labor Federation has adopted a five part economic recovery agenda that can be viewed (here.)

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • stevefromsacto

    Jobs, jobs, jobs? This is the same governor who wants to throw more then 350,000 home care providers out of work and raise the unemployment rate to over 14 percent by eliminating the In Home Supportive Services program. Maybe he thinks this will create new jobs in nursing homes, or emergency rooms, or funeral homes.

  • RR, Uninvited Columnist

    For too long California has been trying to balance its budget on the backs of its residents. Let’s balance it on the backs of tourists, inhabitants of other solar systems, North Dakota farm animals, nonresident ex-hippies who loved SF in the ’60s, Code Pink activists, unreconstructed Stalinists, etc. That way, the aged, disabled, nontax-paying indigents, etc., won’t be exploited.