Perhaps it’s an issue of messaging that plagues California Republicans, who have struggled to retain a foothold at the Capitol in recent years.
The Senate’s minority caucus on Tuesday called a press conference to highlight its priority legislation for the session, touting a package of tax breaks in terms of uplifting California’s most vulnerable residents rather than the typical discussion of boosting the economy.
Senate Republican Leader Jean Fuller called it “a very positive agenda that gives voice to Californians being left behind by their own Capitol.” She said the caucus was working to make the state more affordable for disabled veterans, students, seniors, renters, low-income residents and first-time home buyers.
Among the 11 bills are caps on property taxes for senior citizens and older or disabled military veterans, tax deductions for school expenses for the poor and public college tuition, and a sales-tax “holiday” for back-to-school shopping. Other proposals include restoring eyeglass coverage for Medi-Cal patients and allowing renters to divert tax payments to a savings accounts for the down payment on their first home.
Lawmakers said they would rather the state budget surpluses of recent years be returned to the public for use how they see fit, rather being spent on programs like the proposed high-speed rail and phone service for low-income residents.
“I want all of us to remember who is earning the money in California. Is it not the government,” Sen. Ted Gaines, R-El Dorado Hills said. “It’s nice to have disposable income that people can use for what they think their priorities are.”