Rhetoric-rich reactions to new state budget deal

Gov. Jerry Brown and Democratic legislative leaders announced a budget deal this afternoon that can be passed on simple majority, no-Republicans vote – practically a done deal with Thursday being the last day of the fiscal year. Both sides insist the state deserved far better, so let’s all assume that’s true and it’s time for Californians to assume the position.

My colleage Steve Harmon will file has filed a story on the nuts and bolts, but meanwhile, talking points are being unsheathed left and right — so, let the rhetoric fly!

From state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento:

“This is a balanced budget that protects, to the greatest extent possible, California’s public education system, jobs, the economy, and our way of life. While this budget implements more than $14.6 billion in harsh and very real cuts, it also puts us on a pathway over the next 18 months to eliminate a structural deficit that’s plagued California for a decade.

“This budget is the most austere fiscal blueprint California has seen in more than a generation. Spending levels are at an historic low, and every sector of society will feel the difficult choices we’ve made to bring this budget into balance.

“Earlier this year, the Governor asked both Democrats and Republicans to get out of their comfort zones and do what was best for California. For Democrats, that meant agreeing to billions of dollars in cuts to programs that are vital to children, the elderly, the sick and the poor. We delivered in March and we’re delivering again in June – with billions more in cuts, particularly if revenues fall short of projections.”

“Unfortunately, Democrats were forced to deliver alone. We used all the tools available to us under the Constitution to do just that – deliver.

“The imperative for revenue is as great as before because there is still a structural deficit looming. We will move forward through the initiative process to put the question before the voters in November of 2012.”

From state Senate Republican Leader Bob Dutton, R-Rancho Cucamonga:

“Californians deserve better than the ‘Hope without Change’ budget the Democrats announced today. This latest budget is based on the hope that $4 billion in new revenues will miraculously materialize, but does absolutely nothing to change government as usual.

“The Democrats have said no to all of the Republican reforms that Californians are demanding, including pension reform, a spending cap and job creation. Californians have the right to a real bi-partisan budget solution that provides for a vibrant economy and job opportunities.”

From Assembly Speaker John Perez, D-Los Angeles:

“We began this process with a commitment to make 2011 the year we stopped reacting to the Great Recession and started the difficult work of building our way out of it. The budget agreement we have reached moves us much closer to that objective. We will pass a comprehensive, on-time budget that closes the remainder of the deficit for this year, and eliminates more than 75 percent of the structural deficit going forward.”

“One of the most important aspects of this budget agreement is that it will not cause massive job losses that threaten our economic recovery. We have cast some very difficult votes, but we need to get control of our finances if we are going to be able to make the kind of long-term investments that are necessary to rebuild our shattered economy and prepare the workforce for the kinds of 21st century economy industries, like green manufacturing and biotechnology.”

From Assembly Republican Leader Connie Conway, R-Tulare:

“Republicans listened to the voters and stayed true to the only special interest we represent – California’s taxpayers. Despite every effort by Gov. Brown, legislative Democrats, public employee unions and other Sacramento special interests to pressure us to raise taxes by $58 billion, we honored the commitment we made to the people of California to stay out of their wallets. While Democrats may still use legally questionable maneuvers to raise taxes, the simple truth is because of Republicans’ resolve, temporary tax increases will expire this Friday and the average California family will save nearly $1,000 per year.

“Californians deserve a government that understands that money belongs to the people, not the government. While we still haven’t seen the details of the Democrats’ budget plan, our steadfast opposition to higher taxes has helped remind Sacramento tax-and-spend liberals of the need to live within our means.

“In the remaining months of the legislative year, Republicans look forward to passing badly-needed measures like pension reform to fix future state budgets. We will also continue to push our pro-jobs agenda to help the nearly 2 million unemployed Californians get back to work.”

More, after the jump…

From SEIU Local 1000 President Yvonne Walker:

“Today’s budget plan is far from what Californians deserve. We lost the opportunity for a long-term solution and are now faced with additional cuts to education, safety and other vital services Californians rely upon.

“We had an opportunity to solve the state’s chronic budget crisis, but Republicans refused to make tough choices. Every Californian should be outraged. We had an opportunity to lay a sound foundation that would have allowed us to pay down our debt and begin the path to fiscal responsibility.

“The governor laid out a sound, long-term approach that would gradually erase the structural deficit through a combination of revenues and painful cuts. Republican legislators would not vote for a balanced approach because they are more interested in positioning themselves for the next election—their next office—than they were in doing what was best for California.”

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

“The new proposal from the Governor and legislative Democrats assumes that $4 billion will automatically appear on top of the $6.6 billion increase that has already been projected. That’s nearly $11 billion in new revenue that the Democrats assume will magically appear. That’s a wand that Harry Potter would be proud to wield.

“Obviously, I’m disappointed that the Governor and Democrats chose to protect the special interests who don’t want pension reform, a spending cap or structural reforms that will maximize the best use of taxpayer dollars and help create jobs. Although Senate Republicans still remain open to compromise, it appears there will be no attempt at any type of reform whatsoever.
Senate Republicans call on both the Governor and Democrat leaders to return to the bargaining table and take steps to bring about true reform that will put an end to boom/bust budget cycles, rather than rely upon a phantom $4 billion that may never materialize.”

From Board of Equalization member George Runner:

“Governor Jerry Brown and legislative leaders are hoping for a surge in new revenues in order to avoid triggering additional budget cuts. It’s time they did more than hope.

“It’s hard to imagine these numbers working when California is racing to become the nation’s unemployment leader.

“We need jobs to spur revenues, but burdensome taxes, fees and regulations continue to hold back California’s economic recovery. The Governor and Legislature need to wake up to the reality that their economic policies are destroying California’s competitiveness.

“If the Governor and Legislature want to see growth in revenues, they need to get Californians back to work. We need to bring private sector jobs back to California instead of driving them away.”

UPDATE @ 6:50 P.M.: From California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye:

“I am completely dismayed and gravely concerned about how the proposed budget cuts will affect the judicial branch and the public we serve. The cumulative impact of the cuts to the courts in the last three years will have the effect of court closures, fewer services to court users, and the spectre of more furloughs and layoffs for employees. It will affect everyone and anyone connected to the courts in civil cases, criminal cases, family law, probate, and small claims.

“In addition to a $350 million dollar cut to the judicial branch, the Governor and the Legislature propose sweeping the judicial branch’s funding for infrastructure projects—projects to build safe and secure courthouses for the public. The money will be placed in the state’s general fund. These cuts are unsustainable and incompatible with equal justice for all. This is a sad day for justice in California.”

UPDATE @ 10 P.M.: From California Attorney General Kamala Harris:

“The proposed $71 million cut will cripple California’s statewide anti-gang and drug trafficking operations. Our Division of Law Enforcement leads 50 task forces across the state that target criminal gangs and drug trafficking organizations. Earlier this month, one of these task forces took down 101 leaders and members of two transnational gangs terrorizing California’s Central Valley. Last month, we announced the seizure of over 100 lbs of methamphetamine and the arrests of more than 30 gang members in the Bay Area. These cuts will eliminate many, if not all, of these task forces and jeopardize many ongoing investigations.”

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.

  • Milan Moravec

    University of California President, UCOP, Chancellor, Vice Chancellor Faculty wage concessions help Californians through recession. Until action is applied by the University of California (UC) Board of Regents to chancellors, like Birgeneau, UC shouldn’t come to the Governor or public for support for any tax increase.

    (The author has 35 years’ consulting experience, has taught at UC Berkeley (Cal) where he observed the culture & way senior management work)

    Cal. Chancellor Birgeneau ($500,000 salary) has forgotten that he is a public servant, steward of the public money, not overseer of his own fiefdom (these are not isolated examples): recruits (uses California tax $) out of state $50,000 tuition students that displace qualified Californians from public university education; spends $7,000,000 + for consultants to do his & many vice chancellors jobs (prominent East Coast university accomplishing same 0 cost); pays ex Michigan governor $300,000 for lectures; in procuring a $3,000,000 consulting firm he failed to receive proposals from other firms; Latino enrollment drops while out of state jumps 2010; tuition to Return on Investment drops below top 10; Breslauer all employees meeting – only 50 attend; visits to Cal down 20%; NCAA places basketball program on probation, absence institutional control.

    It’s all shameful. There is no justification for such practices by a steward of the public trust. Absolutely none.

    Birgeneau’s practices will continue indefinitely. Governor Brown, UC Board of Regents Chair Lansing, President Yudof must do a better job of vigorously enforcing oversight than has been done in the past over Chancellors like Birgeneau who use the campus as their fiefdom.

  • Elwood
  • Elwood

    Who could have guessed that the new budget would be written by an Italian woman?

    Thank you, Rosy Scenario!

  • Elwood

    When is a tax increase not a tax increase? When it’s an extension of a “temporary” tax increase according to the dimmiecrats.

    Now that the “temporary” tax increases will be allowed to lapse, watch Jerry Brown and the totally incompetent CA leg. take credit for cutting taxes!

  • Joe M.

    The special interests, especially the current sweetheart deals for public employee unions, have won yet again. The new state budget is a failure because it failed to address the exorbitant pensions promised to state workers, especially fire, police and prison guards. These are not exploited working class people who are barely surviving. Many rank-and-file CHP officers will receive more than $100k a year for the rest of their lives, thanks to the fiscally stupid 3% at 50 pension system that Gov. Gray Davis and the Democratic Legislature (led by tax-and-spend fools like Sen. John Burton) enacted as S.B. 400 in 1999. Tax extensions/increases are unnecessary today because things are not as dire in the budget as most Democrats would have us believe. If the budget really were tight, you would see the teachers unions demand that public safety pensions be reformed, etc. Until this fat is cut from the budget and until the special interest groups turn on each other, Californians would be stupid to allow the Legislature to raise their taxes again. The clowns in Sacramento want more “revenue” in order to generate more “slop” to feed the special interest pigs at the trough. It’s easier than telling the pigs that they need to dine less extravagantly.