Reactions to Jerry Brown’s May budget revision

From Assembly Speaker John Perez, D-Los Angeles:

“The Governor’s May Budget Revision is another key milestone in our effort to pass a balanced on-time budget by June 15th. We appreciate the Governor’s commitment to maintaining the fiscal stability that has come from an improving economy, legislative Democrats making tough but necessary budget cuts, voters approving the majority-vote budget and voters standing with Democrats in supporting temporary tax revenues. We will review the Governor’s proposals and revenue projections, along with the LAO’s revenue projections, in depth, and his revised budget will be thoroughly discussed throughout the Budget committee and subcommittee process. Assemblymembers will review the Governor’s proposal through the prism of principles outlined in our Blueprint for a Responsible Budget: continuing fiscal responsibility, strengthening the middle class, and delivering effective, efficient services for Californians. On the whole, the Governor’s framework and the Assembly’s Blueprint seem to track well, and we’ll spend the next month reconciling our priorities.”

From Assembly Republican Leader Connie Conway, R-Visalia:

“Governor Brown today put forward a revised state spending plan that I believe charts a realistic path forward in meeting the budget priorities of hard-working taxpayers. Republicans share the Governor’s commitment to paying down state debt and holding the line on new spending. It is our hope that Legislative Democrats will follow the Governor’s lead in making fiscal discipline a core budget principle. We must resist the temptation to blow through the surplus using one-time money for ongoing programs and reverse the progress we’ve made in closing the deficit.”

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

“Overall, this May Revision is a refreshing change. For the first time in four years, we no longer have to stare at enormous deficits and make agonizing decisions on which cuts will do the least harm to our children, to the poor, and to middle class families.

“That’s the politically correct thing to say, and it happens to be true.

“I agree we must aggressively pay down our state’s debt and set aside money for a reserve, but there’s a disappointing aspect to this proposal. It’s important that we also begin making up for some of the damage done to tens of thousands of Californians. Unless the Legislative Analyst has a different conclusion, the Governor proposes few if any resources to restore cuts made over the past few years to the courts, and to health and human services.

“The Governor’s Local Control Funding Formula is the right policy direction, but our serious concern about how it’s accomplished remains. The concentration grants treat thousands of disadvantaged students unequally. It also fails to expand the proven success of career pathway programs which can reduce dropout rates and improve our kids’ readiness for the workforce by combining rigorous curriculum that’s also relevant to students’ career goals.

“The budget debate begins in earnest. I look forward to a deeper analysis of revenue projections in the coming weeks while we continue to work with the Governor on the best budget for California’s economic recovery and its people.”

From state Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff, R-Brea:

“The Governor has revenue estimates that are lower than anyone expected, largely due to the increased payroll tax suppressing the economy. Higher tax rates and continuing high unemployment mean less money in people’s pockets and less money to propel the economy.

“We have common ground with the Governor in a belief that we cannot return to a culture of overspending that drives new budget crises. Governor Brown referred to this as a ‘Call for Prudence,’ we would call it ‘Common Sense.’ It seems that the Governor’s biggest budget challenge will be in restraining legislative Democrats and their growing wish list of new spending.

“Senate Republicans continue to believe that the State must meet the promises of the voter approved Proposition 30 tax increase measure by increasing funding for K-14 and higher education. We also believe that the Governor should support our efforts to allow Californians to vote on the bi-partisan rainy day reserve fund that had been previously scheduled for the 2012 ballot. Implementing a voter approved rainy day reserve requirement is the best way to protect against future budget crises and ensure stability.

“The Legislature should spend less time on a growing list of additional tax proposals such as soda taxes, oil severance taxes, tobacco taxes and several property tax measures that undermine historic Proposition 13 protections and instead focus on the growing public safety crises caused by the passage of AB 109, the Governor’s Public Safety Realignment scheme that has shifted 65,000 criminals from state prison to our local communities and neighborhoods.”

From California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye:

“I’m disappointed that the Governor’s revised budget proposals provide no more fiscal relief to the courts. Given the state’s current fiscal condition, I had hoped for more effort to help stop the downward spiral of the judicial branch budget. Courts across the state are already closing courthouses, courtrooms, and reducing the hours they serve the public. Without reinvestment in the courts, these terrible impacts will only expand, and the poor and middle class residents who rely on the courts to resolve issues that affect their lives and livelihoods will be adversely affected, as well those businesses still digging out from the effects of the great recession. We need adequate, ongoing funding for the courts that will permit us to reverse the damage caused by five years of budget cuts. The reforms I’ve put in place have helped save money and created more efficiencies. We needed critical support a year ago from the other two branches and now the need for justice is urgent. I am heartened by Speaker Perez’s comments last week about the need to begin reinvesting in the courts. I am optimistic that the Legislature and the Governor can work toward reversing some of the adverse impacts on access to justice before a budget bill is passed and signed.”

There’s a whole lot more, after the jump…

From Assembly Budget Committee Vice Chair Jeff Gorell, R-Camarillo:

“It is appropriate that the Governor is making conservative projections for state revenues. Corporate tax and sales tax revenues are all down. California’s economy is not recovering at its full potential, weighed down, in part, by policy decisions made in Sacramento, like tax increases, the cap and trade program, and other regulatory burdens on state businesses. Regrettably, we are sending the wrong message to job creators in today’s May Revise. The elimination of funding for the state’s enterprise zones pulls the rug out from under hundreds of businesses that have relied in good faith on this program by moving operations into enterprise zones and hiring new employees. The decision, if carried forward, will likely result in expensive litigation for the state and less savings for state government than projected, as was the experience with the elimination of redevelopment agencies. Finally, I think the Governor should lay the groundwork for a rainy day fund that would smooth out the volatile tax revenue that California receives.”

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

“I applaud the Governor for his continued commitment to bolstering California’s ongoing economic recovery,” said Senator Corbett. “The basis of our state’s future success depends largely on a strong and robust education system that prioritizes the needs of California students. We must continue to fund education fully and fairly so that California’s future generations may thrive and propel our state forward in the years ahead.”

“After many years of budget cuts that have frayed the social service fabric in many of our communities—including the East Bay—we must ensure that this year’s approved budget balances fiscal discipline with shoring up California’s frail safety net. As the backbone of California’s economy, our middle class has also suffered greatly the last few years, so the Governor’s May Revise rightfully prioritizes the economic and social needs of hardworking Californians.”

“With improving housing and unemployment numbers, California’s economy is clearly on the rebound and it is our responsibility, as elected officials, to fully assess the ongoing needs of our state and respond accordingly. I look forward to approving a budget before the June 15th constitutional deadline that reflects our priorities and that will continue to strengthen California’s day-to-day life for our residents and communities.”

From state Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco:

“I am greatly encouraged that for the first time in five years California has a balanced budget proposal that does not rely on additional cuts to the services, programs, schools and universities that make California great. We all understand the past few years of difficult budget decisions have taken a significant toll on the people of California, especially the most vulnerable, and I am hopeful that era of devastation is behind us.

“While I have some questions about the Governor’s underlying economic and revenue assumptions, I am happy to see that he has used the boost in current year revenues to reinvest in education. There is also a great need to reinvest in other areas that are critical to our economic growth and social welfare, and I am confident those funds will be appropriated in time. We are on the right path, but we must strive to avoid the financial errors made during the previous administration.

“Additionally, the Governor has appropriately and thoughtfully provided a conceptual framework to make the enterprise zone tax program more efficient and effective at encouraging economic development and creating new jobs in the state.

“I am eager to continue working with Governor Brown, my colleagues in the Legislature and the people of California on this latest budget proposal to rebuild the Golden State.”

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

“Thanks to Governor Brown and the voters of California standing up for Prop 30 last year, our state’s economy is moving in the right direction.

“The Governor’s proposal puts much needed money back into our public schools. The children of California will be better served by this support. Their future, and ours, will be brighter as a result.

“It is my hope that we can also restore some of the funding levels of social services and local governments that have had devastating cuts in recent years. Seniors, people with disabilities and children in poverty have had their benefits cut back for years, and it is time to undo the damage done to California’s most vulnerable citizens.”

From Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, D-Concord:

“The infusion of at least a billion dollars for Common Core professional development and technology upgrades, into California schools, means we are positioned to transition to a successful twenty-first century model of education. Our students deserve this opportunity to be challenged by standards that require analytical thinking, and this targeted use of one time money provides educators with the tools to advance instruction and integrate technology into the learning environment.

“My bill, AB 1186, establishes these same statewide funding priorities for professional development for common core, technology for new computer adaptive assessments, and integrating Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education in our schools. I am pleased that the Governor shares this vision for California in order to allow our schools to be successful.”

From Assemblyman Rich Gordon, D-Los Altos:

“The May Revision is one additional milestone to reveal that California has indeed turned a corner and is well on the road to economic recovery.

“I applaud the Governor for his leadership throughout the budget process, and for continuing to demonstrate fiscal prudence in light of the $4.5 billion in unanticipated surplus funds. After cutting nearly $20 billion from the state budget over the past two years, I can attest that sound fiscal management is necessary to avoid volatile budget projections and wavering government services.

“For the first time in over a decade, this budget will be bolstered with surplus revenues, which will pave the way to create a critically-needed Rainy Day Fund. Furthermore, I commend the Governor’s commitment to K-12 Education by investing additional revenues in the system and allocating $1 billion of surplus funds for costs associated with the implementation of Common Core.

“As a member of the Budget Committee, I look forward to further analyzing the details of the Governor’s revised budget in the coming weeks. Feedback from constituents and community organizations, in addition to examination through the lens of the recently released Assembly Democratic Caucus Blueprint for a Responsible Budget will provide a framework for critical evaluation of the budget, with adoption scheduled on-time for June 15th.

“Instability and unprecedented deficits marred the budget process during my first two years in the Assembly. Now, cautious spending and calculated investments in critical programs have led to this year’s budget and the brighter future of California.”

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

“California is in a poverty crisis. Our state has the highest poverty rate in the nation. Since 2008, our poverty levels have jumped from 6 million to 8.7 million people, with 2.2 million of these being children – if grouped together these children would live in a city larger than San Francisco and San Diego combined. This crisis calls for much-needed restorations to our state’s health and human services.”

“The Governor’s revised budget proposal fails to address our poverty crisis by continuing the steep cuts to safety net programs made during the Great Recession. Since 2008, California has decimated our state’s social safety net with devastating effects. Over the last few years, our poverty rate jumped from 16.3% to an astounding 23.5%.

“It’s time to address our poverty crisis and restore, rebuild, and reinvest in California’s future. Our continuing recovery depends on this reinvestment, which will bring in federal dollars to our state and help our economy.

“The Governor remarks that we are sailing into uncertain times. But millions of Californians have been sailing through stormy seas for years and struggling to make ends meet, find good jobs, and put food on the table for their kids. We call on Governor Brown and legislators to address this poverty crisis by making key restorations to the Golden State’s vital services.”

From Health Access California Executive Director Anthony Wright:

“We appreciate Governor Brown’s full-throated commitment to expand Medi-Cal under federal health reform generously, boldly and prudently, and to be ready on day one. California can and should take full advantage of the benefits of the Affordable Care Act. At the same time, the Governor’s proposed budget would continue steep cuts to Medi-Cal benefits and provider rates, and undermine California’s safety-net of public hospitals, clinics, and county-based low-income health programs.

“As the federal Affordable Care Act is ready to expand coverage and increase investments in our health system, this state budget would seek to cut $300 million and eventually $1.3 billion in funds to serve the remaining uninsured, including the county health infrastructure we have built up over years. California needs a safety-net that survives and thrives, and we should not prematurely reduce the resources already set aside to serve the 3-4 million remaining uninsured. We need to fulfill the promise of the health reform to all Californians, including those who fall through the cracks. We agree we shouldn’t provide care twice, but for the remaining uninsured, we still need to provide basic care once.

“At the time we need all the capacity we can get, this budget would go forward with cuts for both public and private health care providers, which would make it harder for both the insured and uninsured to get the care they need when they need it. The Governor continues pending cuts to Medi-Cal provider rates, already some of the lowest in the nation, and which cause Californians problems seeing a doctor or specialist in a timely manner. The budget continues the denials of key Medi-Cal benefits, including dental benefits to over 3 million low-income Californians.

“Smart, targeted restorations of these benefits would be matched not just one-to-one for those now in Medi-Cal, but be 100-percent paid for by the federal government for those newly-eligible under the Affordable Care Act. It’s insane not to make that investment to get that immediate return for California families, for our health system, for our economy. The California comeback isn’t reflected in this health care budget, and would be hampered as we short-sightedly deny California needed federal matching dollars, including new dollars available under the Affordable Care Act, which are desperately needed in our financially strapped health system. By not making targeted investments and restorations, that’s money that is not coming into our state, not helping families get needed care, not improving our health system, and not advancing our economic recovery.”

From California Association of Health Plans President and CEO Patrick Johnston:

“The expansion of Medi-Cal managed care will go far to secure our health care safety net for low-income Californians and to reduce the number of uninsured. Health plans look forward to working with the Administration and the Legislature to ensure the proposed tax on Medi-Cal managed care will directly support the program.

“The state and federal government are increasingly relying on managed care in public programs because, compared to fee-for-service, Medi-Cal Managed Care improves access to care, delivers better and more coordinated care, and provides significant cost-savings.”

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.

  • Josh, how about if you read all those statements and highlight anything that is not a platitude and might be worth of notice?

  • GV Haste

    Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, more than ready to drive the state right back into structural deficits, ignoring the inevitable changing economic conditions of the future.

    Left to his own, he’d pump all the programs back up to budget busting levels. Then use smoke and mirrors in the off years.
    Returning to his own time tested patterns.

  • Josh Richman

    Marga – I think readers ought to know who’s offering platitudes and who’s offering substance; perhaps they’ll take it to heart when making decisions at the ballot box. For more refined budget-revision coverage, see our online and print stories, as well as breakouts on K-12, higher education, Medi-Cal and courts.

  • Elwood

    Pardon me, Brown

    Is that your Coalinga choo choo?

    Well, it really looks fine,

    But it won’t run on time.

    (Please feel free to add more verses!)