SACRAMENTO – California Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) and Senator Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles), Chair of the Senate Budget Committee, released the following statements today reacting to Governor Jerry Brown’s initial budget proposal.
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California Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles):
“At the start of each year we take stock of our resources and our needs, and stake out our funding priorities for the year to come. This is some of the most important work we do because it directly touches so many lives everyday – Whether through our schools, our first responders and emergency services, healthcare for our kids or environmental protection.
“For the last several years, we have been fortunate to invest in California and its citizens, while at the same time building up a strong budget reserve to insulate from future downturns. I applaud the Governor for bringing our budget reserve to 10% of the total state budget.
“The Senate is committed to protecting that progress, and building for the future with this budget. For the Senate, that means investing in our K-12 schools — especially by fully funding our Local Control Funding Formula to help close the achievement gap in our state. We want to continue our progress on college affordability to help more students graduate on time and with as little debt as possible – including funding free community college and providing more financial aid to incentivize students to complete a degree in a timely manner.
“Of course, in the past year we’ve seen tragic reminders of the need to invest in emergency preparedness and prevention – particularly when it comes to our vulnerability to wildfires. So we will work hand in hand with the Governor to ensure California is proactive in wildfire prevention and forest management and that we have strong fire response plans and sufficient funding for our first responders. We will use our strong Cap and Trade revenues to reinforce those capabilities. and we will continue our historic investments in clean air to eliminate the public health menace of diesel exhaust and tailpipe emissions.
“To be clear, there are some dark clouds on the horizon, including significant uncertainty with the federal Children’s Health Insurance Program or CHIP – and we need to be ready to protect the 1.3 million California who may be affected as a result of Congress’ incompetence.
“But we stand ready to protect Californians from Washington’s failures.”
Senator Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles), Chair of the Senate Budget Committee:
“I’ve repeatedly emphasized that the budget is a value statement. As chair of the Senate Budget Committee, I look forward to working with the administration to ensure that we continue to make investments in the people of California.
“The governor’s budget reflects some positive investments related to education, special education, increased funding to the local school funding formula, Career Technical Education Funding at the community colleges, investments in the CalWORKs single allocation, and repairs to prison infrastructure to make it more humane.
“We will now begin the detailed work of analyzing the impacts to existing programs, government operations and services. As it relates to poverty, the governor stated that unlike other states, California has a good system of support, but it is modest. Here, modesty is not good enough. I would like to see more increases in SSI COLAs, and investments in human services, particularly as it relates to deep poverty and CalWORKS.”