What they’re saying about the governor’s budget

From Assembly Speaker John Perez, D-Los Angeles:

“This is a proposal that clearly shows California has turned the corner. The Governor’s budget is sober, restrained and forward thinking, and I believe it’s a solid foundation for the budget process. I am looking forward to thorough and insightful public hearings as we work with the Governor to adopt the final budget by our Constitutional deadline.”

From California Republican Party Chairman Tom Del Beccaro:

“It’s easy for Gov. Brown to tout austerity and fiscal restraint when he has more of the taxpayers’ money in his pocket. His challenge will be to follow through on those promises when the economy continues to stagnate and the Democrats’ pie-in-the-sky projections don’t come to pass. That’s why Republican legislative leadership correctly proposed this week for the Governor to mandate that his new Prop 30 taxes fund our classrooms and protect our communities.

“What’s disappointing about Gov. Brown’s announcement is that job creation was never mentioned. Cutting the regulatory burden was ignored. Working with Republicans to unify the state is sadly not part of his agenda. In order for California to finally emerge from its economic doldrums and enter a new Golden Age, the answer lies with policies that encourage job growth and unleash the innovation of small business owners, not with budget wrangling and deferred payments that mask billions in debt to the federal government for unemployment insurance and more.

“We need bold reforms to go hand in hand with accountability and responsible fiscal governance if we want to return California and its citizens to prosperity. If Jerry Brown thinks we’re out of the woods just because, on paper, we’ll finally be ‘living within our means,’ he’s sadly mistaken.”

From state Senate Budget Committee Chairman Mark Leno, D-San Francisco:

“The budget proposal released today by Governor Brown is the most positive one we have seen in half a decade. The budget is narrowly balanced and contains elements that ensure a modest reserve. However, it reflects the difficult cuts and decisions the Legislature and Governor have made in the past few years to address the state’s structural budget deficit. It also demonstrates the confidence entrusted in us by voters in November who recognized that our fiscal situation was untenable without new temporary revenues. Although we are still under fiscal constraints, I am hopeful we are now past the period of devastating cuts we saw in previous years to education and programs that provide critical aid to elderly Californians, disabled people and working families.

“With the improvement of our fiscal outlook comes the opportunity to continue our work to restore California. While our recent efforts have focused largely on making cuts in the least harmful manner possible, we will now have more capacity to refine our work to improve essential programs and analyze the role of government and its effectiveness. I look forward to working with Governor Brown and my colleagues in the Legislature to evaluate this year’s budget to help ensure it is the best possible plan for a state on the mend.”

From state Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff, R-Diamond Bar:

“New funding for our classrooms is a positive step forward for California. However, the Governor’s budget only seems to include $2.7 billion in new funding for K-12 schools and community colleges even though Proposition 30 taxes will generate $6 billion this year alone – Californians should be disappointed.

“I remain concerned that while state spending is being increased by $5 billion over last year, much of this money is used to expand state programs and provides major pay and benefit increases for state employees.

“Basically, this budget is balanced by a $50 billion tax increase, and Californians have yet to see any real, long-term plan to bring back jobs and help our struggling families.”

More, after the jump…

From California Labor Federation Executive Secretary-Treasurer Art Pulaski:

“The Governor’s budget reflects the progress our state is making toward economic recovery. For the first time in years, California isn’t starting out the year awash in red ink. As a result of the Governor’s leadership and the passage of Prop 30, our state is finally in a position to move forward by making the necessary investments to rebuild our economy.

“California’s economy, while recovering, remains fragile. Every available dollar of state spending should go to creating jobs and strengthening the middle class. It’s a positive sign that the Governor signaled he’s willing to take a hard look at secretive corporate tax breaks that sap our state of much-needed revenue while doing little to nothing to create jobs. Voters spoke clearly to this issue by overwhelming approving Prop 39, which eliminated an absurd tax break that actually hindered job growth in California.

“We applaud the Governor for proposing meaningful reform to the wasteful enterprise zone tax credit program that drains the state of $700 million a year. The Governor’s reform proposal is a good first step, but much more needs to be done. Every corporate tax break must be put to the jobs test. If it’s not creating jobs, the tax break should be reformed or eliminated. That’s commonsense to California taxpayers who are weary of seeing their tax dollars lining the pockets of corporations through unaccountable tax giveaways like enterprise zones.

“While this budget is less bleak than previous years, legislators mustn’t take anything for granted. The cuts made in previous years created a great deal of hardship on millions of Californians, a hardship many still feel today. To grow our economy, we must invest in education, health care and repair the gaping holes in our safety net.

“We have an enormous opportunity to create a better future for our state. The California Labor movement urges the Governor and legislators to seize the moment. It’s time to invest in California again to put our state firmly on solid economic footing for future years.”

From California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye:

“Like our sister branches of government, the judicial branch sees both reasons for hope as well as reasons for concern in the Governor’s proposed budget. The good news is that it appears our trial courts will not suffer additional general fund reductions for the 2013-24 fiscal year. Unfortunately, our immediate and critical needs account, which is vital for court safety and compliance projects, stands to lose another $235 million, nearly eliminating meaningful upgrades for several years.”

“Trial courts, courts of appeal, and the supreme court are already suffering from four consecutive years of on-going cuts, reductions in services, and delays in disposition of cases. Given the exhaustion of one-time funding solutions to continue backfilling/redirecting on-going cuts to local trial courts, the 2013-14 Fiscal Year will have a devastating impact on injured victims, children, families, consumers, merchants, landlords and tenants, and many others who depend on the courts for relief and to resolve disputes.”

“Under my leadership, the Judicial Council will continue to fight for better understanding about and funding for the judicial branch. We serve every Californian, we are here for California businesses and we are critical to law, order, public safety and a healthy democracy.”

From Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom:

“Today’s 2013-2014 budget proposal is a welcome relief from recent years. Governor Jerry Brown’s commitment to sustainable balance and surpluses is evident in a budget that invests in our priorities.

“Brown demonstrates that with the $250 million down payment to the University of California and California State University. Additionally, the commitment of $26.9 million to bring public higher education into the 21st Century by making high-demand courses available online aligns with my long-stated goals as a UC Regent and CSU Trustee.

“California has returned to a fiscal surplus and we have the voters to thank. Now we must resolve to better stewardship of the people’s resources and continue investing in California again.”

From California Partnership director Vanessa Aramayo, on behalf of the HHS Network of California:

“The Governor’s budget is a status quo budget that keeps virtually all of the cuts to assistance and services that have been cut in recent years. It lacks a vision for the future about how we will help the millions of Californians who are unemployed or living in poverty despite working.

“Millions of families in California are still struggling to meet basic needs like childcare, healthcare, childcare nutrition, and housing. Despite the passage of Proposition 30, over a quarter of our state’s children are growing up in poverty while working adults and seniors face crushing cuts to vital services. We’re disappointed that the Governor failed to use this moment to rebuild our decimated social safety net and release a budget that truly meets California’s needs.

“Without a restored social safety net in California, our working families cannot fully participate in our economic recovery. Governor Brown, it’s time to lead us forward with a vision that will help struggling families get out of poverty and back to work.”

From state Sen. Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley:

“I am pleased that Governor Brown has chosen to significantly increase funding for K-12 education and colleges and universities in his budget proposal. Schools and colleges have been drastically affected by devastating budget cutbacks in recent years. It is vital to California’s future that we continue to invest in our children.

As chair of the Senate Budget Subcommittee on Corrections, Public Safety and the Judiciary, I fully concur with the Governor’s intent to reduce spending on incarceration. We’ve made great strides over the past two years to reduce population in our prisons and improve the quality of medical and mental health treatment. We need to maintain that commitment while focusing our budget priorities on educating our young people.

I am, however, very concerned that we don’t restrict access to our court system by further budget cuts. The courts are not just another state department. They are the third branch of constitutional government and it’s vital that they have the funds to function effectively. In recent years, courthouses throughout the state have been forced to close their doors and reduce hours. This cannot continue. They must be adequately funded.

On a personal level, I’d just like to say that this will be the first time in my ten years in the State Legislature that we won’t have to make tens of billions in cuts to vital programs. We’ve turned the corner. I am optimistic that California will begin to rebuild and reinvest, and once again be ‘The Golden State.’”

From Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont:

“The Governor’s budget shows much progress has been made in getting California’s deficits under control. We are increasing our investments in K-12 and higher education and that will benefit our economy and our future workforce.

“I supported the balanced approach of reducing spending and passing Prop. 30 that has decreased our deficit. Just two years ago, we were facing a $25 billion shortfall. Now, although we are not out of the woods yet, our fiscal condition is in much greater shape.

“As our economy becomes stronger, we must begin to restore some of the funding cuts we have made in our court system. Unfortunately, this budget proposal underfunds our courts by roughly $200 million by relying on transfers. As the third branch of government, our judicial system is part of the hallmark of democracy and should be funded appropriately. The public’s access to justice must be sustained. When we reduce courthouse hours it negatively impacts the people’s ability to take care of their disputes in a timely way.”

From Assemblyman Rob Bonta, D-Oakland:

“The proposed budget addresses many of the issues I know are important to Californians and residents of the 18th Assembly District.

“While the proposal is a reasonable starting point to close the gap between revenues and expenditures, we still have a lot of work to do to ensure that education, health, job growth, and public safety remain our state’s priorities.

“I will work closely with my colleagues over the next few months to thoughtfully and thoroughly review the Governor’s plan and share ideas with him as the year moves forward.

“I am committed to providing children safe and strong public schools, protecting the safety net for the working poor, and growing jobs and safe communities in California. It is in everyone’s best interest that our state budget reflects these goals.

“I am looking forward to working with my colleagues to ensure the budget unfolds in a way that benefits the people of California and maintains the strength of our state.”

From state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord:

“Governor Brown’s announcement today of a budget with a surplus and increases in public education spending is a welcome sign of our state’s improving fiscal status. I have seen firsthand as Democratic legislators have voted to make tough cuts to restore fiscal order. With our budget deficit closed, it is time to begin reinvesting in the most vital programs in our state, paying down our debt, and continuing to rebuild a stronger post-recession California. As we begin to pay down our debt and reinvest in critical programs, we must do so in a strategic and thoughtful manner. Governmental oversight and keeping a vigilant eye on spending must remain top priorities. I agree with the Governor’s view that 2013 should be a year of fiscal discipline and living within our means.”

From state Attorney General Kamala Harris:

“Today Governor Brown proposed a balanced budget that avoids the deep cuts the state has suffered for many years. Voters placed their trust in state government by approving Proposition 30 and it is important that their trust is honored and their money is spent wisely. This includes smart investments that benefit Californians, such as restoring funding for the state’s prescription-drug monitoring program and support for law enforcement programs that reduce the number of illegal firearms on our streets. It also means sending resources to our schools in a way that ensures all children, especially those in our poorest communities, receive a quality education.”

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.