Angry words as Democrats move budget forward

Lots of tough words are flying back and forth across the aisle as the Legislature has sent a Democratic party-line budget to Gov. Jerry Brown.

From state Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro:

“Today Democrats have passed a balanced budget and respected the state constitutional deadline and voters’ wishes. While this was the responsible thing to do, it is heartbreaking. Republicans were unwilling to give voters the option to avoid cuts and slashing funding for courts and education.”

“This deadline, and our commitment to meet it, has been known to all, including Republicans, since Proposition 25 passed last November. Republicans’ steadfast resistance to putting another option before voters – to ask whether to continue taxes at their current level instead of letting them expire – is undemocratic.

“The truth is we have no other option to pass a budget that is balanced. Without more revenue, the only option left is to make awful cuts. And these come after we already made $11 billion of tough cuts in March.

“There is no doubt we can do better – we must do better – for California and its future. I call on Republicans to consider the consequences of what is happening here today, and ask all Californians to contact Republican legislators and demand another option.”

“The bill now goes to the governor, who will continue to seek Republican support for an alternative to this harsh, all-cuts budget. All Californians should contact the governor and Republican legislators today to demand a more equitable solution.”

From state Senators Tom Berryhill, R-Modesto; Anthony Cannella, R-Ceres; Bill Emmerson, R-Hemet; and Tom Harman, R-Huntington Beach, the four Republicans seen as pivotal to a budget deal:

Tom Harman“Today’s actions prove that the bridge tax isn’t a stumbling block – it’s political theater. The real stumbling block for the Majority Party are the unions and trial lawyers demanding they block the reform proposals we have been pushing for months.

“Instead of a political drill, today we could have had a real bipartisan budget – one that allows voters to weigh in on Governor Brown’s tax proposal as well as a hard spending cap, significant reforms to our broken pension system, and improvements to California’s business climate to spur the economy and get people back to work.”

From Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom:

“Today, through their inexplicable refusal to engage in a responsible and balanced budget solution, Republican legislators have forced an additional $300M in devastating cuts to our public universities.

“For six months, Governor Jerry Brown and Democratic leaders have tried to work with Republican legislators to reach common-sense, common-ground solutions to California’s budget problems that would have minimized already enormous cuts to the University of California and California State University systems, the cornerstone of California’s economic engine.

“But, even after Democrats passed $12.5B of budget cuts in March, including $1B from higher education, Republican lawmakers have been incapable and unwilling to meet anywhere near the middle.

“These cuts are penny wise and pound foolish and threaten to further damage a stretched-to-the-limit public university system that was once the envy of the world. In volatile economic times, we should be investing in our universities to ensure we are producing the highly-skilled, educated workforce California needs to compete in the global economy.

“If Republicans want to walk the walk on job creation and attract and retain businesses in California, they should immediately return to the table and negotiate a good-faith solution that reverses these additional cuts to the State’s universities.”

From Board of Equalization member George Runner:

George Runner“Make no mistake, this Democrat budget isn’t about solving California’s fiscal problems—it’s only goal is to ensure lawmakers keep their paychecks flowing.

“When voters last fall granted Democrats their wish of majority-vote budgets, they demanded lawmakers forfeit their pay if those budgets are not approved on-time. But it was never the voters’ intention for lawmakers to approve a sham budget simply to keep their paychecks coming.

“What’s worse is that to protect their own pay, Democrats are poised to sacrifice the paychecks of thousands of California small businesses known as affiliates. Up to 25,000 of these Internet entrepreneurs will lose their affiliate status if Democrats approve a so-called ‘Amazon tax.’ According to the Board of Equalization’s analysis, ‘termination of affiliate programs would have an adverse impact on state employment’ and ‘lead to lower revenues.’

“The dumbest idea of all is the Democrats’ plan to sell state buildings for one-time revenue. If lawmakers want real one-time dollars, they should consider my proposals to raise billions in revenue by (1) granting an interest and penalty holiday to spur collection of delinquent tax payments and (2) selling-off aging debts owed the state.”

More, after the jump…

From state Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco:

“There were certainly difficult decisions to make regarding our state budget and I commend the Democratic leadership for pushing a balanced budget on time. While I voted for billions of dollars in reductions, we should not balance the budget on backs of our kids and thus I did not support draconian cuts to schools. I voted against the main budget bill because my constituents didn’t send me to Sacramento to increase class sizes, layoff teachers, and hurt public education.

“I also voted against the elimination of redevelopment agencies, because now more than ever we need to increase jobs in California, and in San Francisco, our schools receive millions of dollars in funding from redevelopment. Unfortunately, the RDA legislation is just another cut to our schools, which I cannot support and our classrooms cannot afford.

“I will continue to push for increased revenue including an oil severance tax and my legislation to claw back corporate tax breaks.”

UPDATE @ 4:49 P.M.: From state Senate Budget Committee Chairman Mark Leno, D-San Francisco:

“Today we passed an on-time, balanced budget, utilizing for the first time the majority vote authority voters gave the Legislature last November under Proposition 25. I am proud of our work to resolve the immediate budget crisis within the state’s constitutional deadline. Without the two Republican votes in the Senate we needed to maintain current revenue levels, the budget we approved today represents the best possible solution we could develop given the tools we had available.

“To be perfectly clear, this is not our preferred budget plan for California. Without an extension of current revenues, we were forced to make significant cuts to public education, higher education, social services, our court system, state parks and public safety. We have much work yet to do to meet the court mandate to reduce the prison population and address the state’s significant wall of debt and unresolved $6 billion annual structural deficit. This is the reality we face with a state that is starved for cash.

“As we move forward, I am committed to working with my colleagues in the Legislature and Governor Brown to ensure that we are doing everything we can to return California to prosperity.”

From state Senate Budget Committee Vice Chairman Bob Huff, R-Diamond Bar:

“What we have before us today is a Democrat budget that reflects a Democrat vision. This is a vision for California that Republicans do not share.”

“Senate Republicans believe that we need to reform the way we do business in California so that we do not end up with chronic budget deficits. Republicans offered Democrats a clear pathway to putting tax extensions on the ballot: a cap in spending, reforming California’s burdensome regulatory climate and pension reforms. Californians want reform. Californians want jobs.

“But this isn’t what we have before us today. It’s now very clear that Democrats didn’t want to go down this path to reform. They wanted to scare us instead with threats of an all cuts budget. They wanted to scare us with a ‘doom and gloom’ scenario of what would happen with an all cuts budget.

“But that’s not what we have before us today. What we have instead, is a Democrat budget crafted without any Republican input or support. Republicans respect the will of the people. But this budget doesn’t reflect Republican principles. We want job creation, and there’s none of that in this plan. We want to see reform in government, but there’s none of that in this plan.

“What we do see is cutting law enforcement and defying the will of California voters with a majority vote tax increase. I urge a no vote.”

From Assemblywoman Fiona Ma, D-San Francisco:

“Spring is already here but it still feels like Groundhog Day. Last November, we heard loud and clear from the voters that they wanted us to pass an on-time balanced budget and we have worked tirelessly to find a compromise that dramatically reduces our state budget and doesn’t decimate the services that are crucial to the operation of California.

Democrats made $12 billion of cuts in March and were forced to make many more cuts today because we could not get any Republicans to look beyond ideology and vote for the future of California. Today we passed Part Two of a budget that meets ours cash flow requirements and does not jeopardize our credit rating on Wall Street.

As Democrats we have focused on keeping business in California, creating jobs, and not cutting our k-12 education. Unfortunately, the budget we are forced to pass keeps California on a perilous path with deep cuts to higher education, our greatest commodity. We hope the economy continues to improve at its current pace and we will once again be able to invest in our future.”

From Services Employees International Union (SEIU) California Executive Director David Kieffer:

“While the budget agreement adopted by the Legislature today is not perfect, it demonstrates how far we have come because Californians came together like never before to move our state forward. In the last six months, businesses and workers, farmers and environmentalists, seniors and students, teachers and parents, law enforcement officials and faith leaders — everyone except Republicans – joined together to help solve the crisis facing our state.

“Recognizing that shared sacrifice was the only way forward, California communities accepted more than their share of painful cuts in March. Had Republican legislators been willing to do their part and stand up to extremists in their party, we could have made more progress toward California’s long-term fiscal solvency.

“Without Republicans willing to partner on responsible reforms, Governor Brown and the Democratic majority in the legislature have done everything possible to keep California working and to protect those who have been hit from every direction – including vulnerable children and seniors — from more cuts.

“California’s fiscal mess wasn’t created overnight, and hard work remains to be done. During next year’s elections, moderate Republican voters will have a chance to break the extremists’ grip on their party and steer the California GOP back to the middle-class values we all share: hard work, educational and economic opportunity, and caring for our children and our seniors.”

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.