Santa Clarita Valley lawmakers discussed the last-minute budget approval that took place Sunday.
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The state’s Constitution set Sunday as a deadline for the spending plan’s approval.
The plan doesn’t put enough money toward education, said Assemblyman Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, while Assemblyman Steve Fox, D-Palmdale, welcomed the job-creation aspects of the budget and its funding levels for veteran services.
Wilk expressed concern about revenue projections and that lawmakers hadn’t learned their lesson from the Great Recession.
“The budget regrettably sets the state up for significant future spending obligations, such as the proposal to increase welfare grants by five percent,” Wilk said.
Fox noted the budget was on time for the fourth consecutive year, offering a different take on the budget process.
“Legislators have continued to prioritize education, access to justice, job creation and veterans while taking steps to reduce our state’s debt,” Fox said. “We are managing our economic recovery realistically and conservatively.”
Fox identified several highlights:
An additional $5.6 billion investment for K-12 education. In May, the state had projected that $4.7 billion would be available for local control funding formula, however, higher revenue allowed legislators to increase allocations to schools by 10 percent in the final budget. Schools also will receive $6 billion to reduce previously deferred payments to school districts.
Families with young children will benefit from an additional allocation of $100 million for child care programs for low-income working parents.
An additional $300 million in allocations for community colleges, potentially will allow colleges to hire more full-time instructors and increase the number of class offerings.
This budget includes increased investment court funding to help our state’s justice system better serve everyone – not just those who can easily afford it. The budget reinforces California’s commitment to ensuring access to justice by increasing investments in courts by $223 million.
California is reaffirming its commitment to military members with a $3 million investment in veterans’ benefits which should lead to an additional $47 million in federal funds. Veterans also will benefit from $100 million for affordable housing for military families.
The budget doesn’t do enough for education, Wilk said, while continuing to seek funds for the “High Spped Rail boondoggle.”
“Yet again, the governor fails to make higher education a priority and did not fulfill his promise to use Proposition 30 to fund public education, which California voters approved,” Wilk said. “The budget uses the higher taxes from Proposition 30 to fund social programs instead of funding our higher education system. In addition to the Proposition 30 letdown, the budget rejects a bipartisan request to increase funding for the California State University by $95 million.”
“The 2014‑15 Budget continues our investment in schools by providing $10 billion this year alone to give California students a much better chance to succeed,” according to a statement by Gov. Jerry Brown. “The budget also provides new money for our colleges and universities with a focus on getting students their degrees in a timely manner. It also funds the expansion of health care coverage to millions of Californians and avoids the early release of serious and violent offenders, while taking important steps to reduce future crime.”
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Source: Santa Clarita News