Local officials are weighing in with cautious optimism on Gov. Jerry Brown’s May Revise for the state’s 2013-14 budget.
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Additional education spending has garnered bipartisan support, but Republican members are quick to note Californians “aren’t out of the woods, yet,” on budget projections due federal cuts.
Democratic support of AB 109 and the issues associated with re-alignment are also still drawing ire from across the aisle.
“The Democrats have really bought into AB 109, and they believe it’s the future,” Knight said. “But crime is going up drastically, and we need to tweak it.
Realignment grants early parole to nonviolent offenders, but slightly more than 1-in-3 of those criminals are re-arrested, according to Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station figures.
Assemblyman Scott Wilk
Assemblyman Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, responded to the release of Governor Brown’s 2013-14 revised budget proposal today, saying the Governor’s budget clearly demonstrates the need to put students first.
The May Revision includes a projected $2.8 billion dollar surplus, $70 billion for all K-12 Education programs and $25.4 billion for Higher Education programs.
“I’m pleased with Governor Brown commitment to education funding, said Wilk. “During the Prop 30 campaign the governor promised to hold the line on tuition hikes for college students. I think hard working families and students need to know their elected leaders will do what they say they are going to do.”
Wilk continued, “Although Governor Brown touts a surplus he has budget assumptions that do not match reality. In addition to a true balanced budget we need to have real transparency as we put together the budget over the next month,” said Wilk.
State Sen. Steve Knight:
“I think one of the biggest things is the priority that the governor has put on education, and that was asked for by the voters.
“The voters said education has to be a priority, and they reached into their pockets, so we have to take care of that,” he said, referring to Proposition 30.
The measure was passed in response to dire cuts facing public services such as education, if taxes were not raised.
“That being said, we have to make sure Proposition 30 money goes to education. It hasn’t been $6.2 billion, which is what we expected.”
Knight also expressed disappointment over proposed cut to the Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties’ court systems.
“They shouldn’t be hit with cuts in the May Revise,” he said. “We’re in such dire straights (with the courts) in those two counties.”
Newhall School District Superintendent Marc Winger:
From the initial stuff I’ve seen it’s looking pretty good to me,” Winger said, noting that $1 billion is being put aside to prepare for the implementation of the state’s recently adopted Common Core Standards Initiative.
The initiative represents an overhaul of the state’s educational system, which will require time-intensive and costly training for teachers, as well as new technology for computer-based testing.
A lot of the technological costs will be addressed by a bond measure that was recently approved by district voters, he said.
However, the district expects to receive about $1 million, which is mandated for Common Core preparation, which should really help cover training costs.
Winger was part of a contingent that was recently in Sacramento to lobby legislators for this money, and was relieved when he saw it in the governor’s spending plan.
“The final thing is all about how the details come out here,” he said. “But the initial information makes me feel a lot better about where we’re headed. In Newhall, no it doesn’t we weren’t going to make any more cuts — it just gets us back on the path to grow again.”
Former state Sen. and current Board of Equalization member George Runner:
“The governor’s revised budget reflects the fact that budget revenues are exceeding expectations.
“Multibillion budget deficits appear to be a thing of the past — at least for now,” he said.
“But let’s not be fooled. We’re not out of the woods yet, and we can’t tax ourselves into prosperity.
“Many California communities continue to struggle with high unemployment, rising crime and massive debt.
“Only a renewed focus on job creation will solve the many problems still facing our state.”
Elected in November 2010, George Runner represents more than 9 million Californians.
Sen. Mimi Walters, R-Irvine:
“I am pleased that for the first time since I was elected to the Legislature we are not confronted with a multi-billion dollar deficit. But let’s be clear, that is a result of a questionable retroactive tax that has accounted for the current projected surplus. I believe we can all agree that excessive spending and dubious budgetary gimmicks of this and previous governors have placed undue stress on California families.
“Despite the perceived good news regarding state revenues, the May Revision illuminates the continual struggle the state will face in maintaining a stable and solid budget in future years. The governor’s plan has already attempted to gloss over the state’s slow economic recovery, which the revise acknowledges that our diminished tax revenue will be unable to cover.
“Further, while the Governor continues to acknowledge the state’s ‘Wall of Debt,’ this budget fails to address California’s $132 billion debt problem, as identified in a recent Public Policy Center report. Neither does the budget do anything to deal with the growing unfunded pension and retiree health care liabilities. These future, conservatively estimated, state costs are over $100 billion alone.
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Source: Santa Clarita News