Capitol Alert

Rapid response: Gov. Jerry Brown’s revised budget

California Gov. Jerry Brown gestures to a chart showing the increase in education spending as he discusses his revised state budget plan during a news conference at the Capitol on Thursday. Lawmakers of both parties and outside groups generally gave the proposal good marks.
California Gov. Jerry Brown gestures to a chart showing the increase in education spending as he discusses his revised state budget plan during a news conference at the Capitol on Thursday. Lawmakers of both parties and outside groups generally gave the proposal good marks. AP

Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, D-San Diego

“The Assembly has made clear our budget priorities include reducing poverty, restoring funding for schools and early childhood education, improving higher education funding, building reserves and paying down debt, and providing a down payment for transportation infrastructure. The Governor’s May Budget revision makes significant progress in these areas, and we look forward to working with the Senate and the Governor in the coming weeks to find ways to improve the budget and make vital investments for California’s future.”

Assembly Republican Leader Kristin Olsen, R-Riverbank, and Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez, R-Lake Elsinore, vice-chairman of the Assembly Budget Committee

“Republicans’ top budget priority is improving the quality of education in our schools. We are prepared to support increased higher education funding, but dollars alone won’t fix the problem. Pension reform at our universities is a good first step. Students shouldn’t have to dig deeper and deeper into their pockets every year to afford a quality education. The legislature should hold UC and CSU accountable to responsible budgeting and ensure their expenditures prioritize students first. Our K-12 student achievement rankings are the lowest in the nation. We encourage the Governor to also support #GreatSchools4CA - a package of common sense bills that will provide students and teachers with better learning environments and improve our education rankings. We applaud the Governor for putting money back into the pockets of those who work hard every day and pay their taxes – it’s the right move. The Governor’s low-income tax credit merits discussion, but it will not end widespread poverty. That’s why Assembly Republicans have offered straight forward solutions to reform education and support the modern economy so every Californian can boost their earnings and quality of life.”

Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles

“The Legislature has an equal role in keeping the state’s fiscal house in order and the Senate will continue being a steward that maintains fiscal discipline. The proposed budget and revenue scenarios reflect the improved state of our economy but we know many Californians have been left out of this resurgence. I’m glad Governor Brown has recognized this and introduced several proposals to help the working poor. The EITC in an important anti-poverty tool but it is no substitute for a good-paying job. Too many women are locked out of the job market because they cannot afford quality childcare. Making sure our kids can afford and graduate college is also crucial to expanding opportunity and economic security. The Senate will continue to fight for access and affordability in higher education. We are pleased UC students and their families will avoid paying higher tuition next year. But CSU, the workhorse of our higher education system, has been shortchanged. We have to support both of our public institutions of higher learning to make sure college is accessible to as many Californians as possible. Childcare and higher education are important investments to fortify the future of California’s economy. We can and will do more to ensure our budget reflects these priorities. Prop 98 will continue to increase funding for our K-14 schools but we also need to make sure children are ready to learn and have a shot at attending college when they are done. These bookend investments in education will be how you grow the future of California. I look forward to working with Speaker Atkins and Governor Brown to find the best ways to support working families and make sure all Californians, regardless of where they come from, can participate in our thriving economy.”

Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff, R-Diamond Bar

“We are happy to see the Governor is interested in keeping the promises to invest in education, payoff state budget debts and liabilities, and save money for a rainy day. The plan does miss an opportunity by failing to invest more in California working families. One of the smartest ways to use surplus revenues is to put them to work creating good jobs for Californians by fixing our roads, expanding water storage, and repairing our schools.”

State Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens

“I applaud Governor Brown for proposing $5 million in funding to provide application assistance for undocumented Californians eligible for deferred action under the President’s executive actions. This funding directly supports the vision outlined in Senate Bill 10, my bill to create the Office of New Americans to address the lack of coordination and resources available for immigrants seeking to obtain legal status. This funding is a good start, but falls short of what is necessary to adequately help over a million eligible immigrants further integrate into the fabric of our communities and economy. The Governor also recognized what we’ve known to be true all along – the population eligible for the President’s executive actions is also eligible for full-scope Medi-Cal coverage. Once approved, this population, like those eligible for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals before them, will obtain Permanent Residency Under the Color of the Law, or PRUCOL, and be eligible for Medi-Cal coverage. While the Governor’s budget takes into consideration added funding for this population in the short-term, we need a long-term fix. I am proud to champion of Senate Bill 4, the Health for All Act which gets at the heart of this issue. In order to have a truly healthy state, we must invest in the health of all Californians, regardless of immigration status. SB4 will expand coverage for California immigrants who contribute over $130 billion annually to our state’s gross domestic product and generate an estimated $2.2 billion in state and local taxes each year. The Governor’s budget begins to address the lack of access to health care for undocumented Californians, but it does not go far enough. I look forward to working with the Governor, legislative leadership and community members to continue pushing SB4 to increase access to health care for all vulnerable communities.

Assemblyman David Chiu, D-San Francisco

“Once again, California is leading the nation by growing our economy as we invest in our schools, critical infrastructure like our roads and transit systems, and the social safety net for our most vulnerable residents. Building more affordable housing in San Francisco and our state is my top priority, and I’m encouraged to see a $400 million investment from cap-and-trade funds towards this goal. I’m also pleased that this budget will fund critical healthcare services for immigrants who qualify for President Obama’s deferred action programs. I’m heartened that the Governor has allocated an initial $5 million for application assistance for residents eligible under these programs - a request that the Asian Pacific Islander, Latino and Black Legislative Caucuses have advocated for together. On higher education, the Governor’s proposal to invest more dollars while freezing tuition rates demonstrates a recognition that we must put our students first, but we have to do more to restore the affordability and accessibility of California’s world-class colleges and universities. Finally, I’m proud to have joined my Assembly colleagues earlier this year in co-authoring a bill to establish a state earned income tax credit, and the Governor’s proposal is a good start as we work to boost our lowest-income Californians. Funding for affordable housing, transportation and our safety net will continue to be my priorities as we work together to pass an on-time budget this year.”

California State University Chancellor Timothy P. White

“Today’s announcement by Governor Brown acknowledges the California State University’s vital mission in serving the students of California. The May Revision supports existing CSU priorities by expanding student enrollments and programs that increase degree completion. The governor’s proposal is an important step towards reinvestment in a well-educated California citizenry and knowledge-based economy. The CSU will redouble its efforts by working with state elected leaders to further prioritize public higher education funding and achieve a final budget that provides appropriate educational opportunity, quality and success to the students of California.”

California Controller Betty Yee

“Governor Brown is right to invest much of California’s budget surplus in public education. This helps prepare our future workforce and addresses years of recessionary shortfalls. While the state of California is in good fiscal shape now, the economic recovery has not benefited all Californians. I am especially heartened by the Governor’s commitment to reducing poverty by expanding affordable housing and enacting a modest tax break for families who are willing to work hard but have limited incomes. Also of particular importance to the state’s long-term economic health is funding water technology innovation to help address the impacts of this devastating drought. Overall, the Governor has proposed a sound spending plan anchored in pragmatism and fiscal stability.”

Chris Hoene, executive director of the California Budget & Policy Center

“By calling for California’s first-ever state Earned Income Tax Credit, the Governor’s revised budget takes an important first step toward reducing economic hardship and expanding opportunity. A state EITC that builds on the federal credit will help working Californians to afford groceries, rent, and other day-to-day necessities while moving toward financial security. So, it’s significant that this is part of the revised spending plan. “As the Governor and legislators work toward a final budget, they could go even further in investing in economic opportunity and well-being, especially with so many Californians still left behind by the current recovery. Policymakers have options for building back key public services and supports that bore the brunt of years of spending cuts. This would mean reinvesting in CalWORKs as well as in subsidized preschool and child care, which help families make ends meet while finding and keeping jobs. State policymakers should also seek to boost assistance for low-income seniors and people with disabilities. The right budget choices this year could be part of a longer-term effort to invest in prosperity and general well-being for all Californians.”

Joshua Pechthalt, president of the California Federation of Teachers

Governor Brown is moving in the right direction with this proposal to direct more resources toward schools and to the most needy Californians through the Earned Income Tax Credit. But despite gains for some in the state, economic inequality, as the Governor noted, has continued to grow. The state budget should represent an effort to level the playing field for all Californians. “More than $6 billion in revenues beyond projections present an opportunity to build on the progress we have made in public education since the passage of Prop 30,” said Joshua Pechthalt, president of the California Federation of Teachers, “and the Governor makes a good start with the May Revision. However, we have a long way to go before we restore the programs in education and social services we lost to a decade of budget cuts. Whatever basic stability we have achieved is due to Prop 30, and that needs to be recognized by making its revenues permanent and seeking fair, new sources to fund California’s future.”

Dr. Paul Song, executive chairman of the California-based Courage Campaign

“Over his tenure, Jerry Brown has done a courageous job in returning California’s budget to financial stability and fiscal sanity, and for this the Governor deserves much praise. We are excited to see that the budget continues that trend by making investments in our schools and in our State’s most economically vulnerable, like with the proposed earned income tax credit. Governor Brown’s proposed expanded budget for our schools is a critical investment that our State’s crumbling education infrastructure desperately needs and a freeze on UC tuition would provide some relief for students struggling with rising loan debt. But for the nine million Californians still struggling to make ends meet - we need Governor Brown to make even bolder investments in California, like restoring the devastating cuts to the Health and Human Services budget and funding programs that welcome immigrants out of the shadows - not sequestering even more money into the State’s rainy day fund. California needs a budget that works for all Californians, and Governor Brown’s revised budget is a step in the right direction. There is still more to do, and Courage Campaign’s one million members will continue to push Governor Brown to get it done.”