Assemblyman Scott Wilk
Assemblyman Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita:
Assemblyman Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, responded to the release of Gov. Brown’s 2013-14 budget proposal today, saying that he was encouraged by the Governor’s call for fiscal restraint. Wilk said that lawmakers and the Governor should focus on providing adequate funding for California’s schools and colleges, keeping communities safe and getting the economy back on track.
“I’m encouraged by Gov. Brown’s call for fiscal restraint in his 2013-14 budget proposal. I’m looking forward to working with the Governor and the Democratic majority to create responsible solutions to the challenges facing our state. I will push to do this in an open and transparent way,” said Wilk.
Wilk noted that while the state’s projected budget deficit may be smaller than in recent years, the Legislature still has significant budget issues, including restoring support for public education, paying down state debt and fostering private sector job growth.
“It is vital that we begin to pay down state debt so more resources are available to invest in fundamental programs. If California families cannot defer payment on their mortgage or other bills then Sacramento shouldn’t either,” Wilk stated.
Significant sums have been borrowed in recent years to avoid cutting programs. As of December, the state owed $28.2 billion in budgetary borrowing.
Los Angeles County Public Affairs office:
Los Angeles County is closely analyzing the details released this morning in Governor Jerry Brown’s 2013-14 Proposed Budget.
Of particular interest to the County, the Governor’s budget outlines plans for expanding health coverage under the new federal health care law. The fiscal impact of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act is uncertain and of critical importance to Los Angeles County.
The County is an essential partner with the State and with the Governor’s administration in ensuring the success of federal health reform: we are providers, hospitals, clinics and health systems; we administer the eligibility systems that will enroll people into coverage programs, and we provide carve-out mental health and substance abuse disorder treatment services. Gov
As a healthcare safety net provider, Los Angeles County served over 821,000 patients last year, including 306,000 visits to our emergency rooms and trauma centers. Even after the full implementation of healthcare reform, the County will remain the primary provider to a large share of this population. A recent UCLA study, funded by the Blue Shield Foundation, anticipates that there will be as many as 1.3 million residents who will remain uninsured in Los Angeles County in 2019, after healthcare reforms are fully implemented.
Additional details of the potential budget impacts on Los Angeles County will be released as they become available this afternoon.
Tom Torlakson, State Superintendent of Public Instruction:
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson issued the following statement today on Gov. Brown’s proposed budget for the 2013-14 fiscal year:
“The Governor’s budget proposal keeps the promise we made to Californians who supported Proposition 30, and wisely begins to restore some of what our schools have lost. It will take years to bring our education system back to financial health, and I applaud the Governor for beginning that work in earnest.
“I do believe, however, that early education programs—cut deeply in recent years—deserve to share in this recovery as well. They are among our best investments in the future of California’s children.
“I look forward to working with our community college partners regarding the future of adult education. I am concerned that severing the longstanding ties these programs have with K-12 districts could diminish access to classes that play a vital role in helping Californians receive the basic education they need to become productive citizens.
“I admire the Governor’s determination to move forward with an overhaul of California’s confusing system of school finance, and I share his desire to direct more help to students and schools with the greatest needs. At the same time, I remain concerned about the fragile fiscal state of so many school districts and preserving state priorities. I look forward to examining details of the Governor’s proposal and working closely with the education community throughout this challenging process.”
Attorney General Kamala Harris:
“Today Governor Brown proposed a balanced budget that avoids the deep cuts the state has suffered for many years. Voters placed their trust in state government by approving Proposition 30 and it is important that their trust is honored and their money is spent wisely. This includes smart investments that benefit Californians, such as restoring funding for the state’s prescription-drug monitoring program and support for law enforcement programs that reduce the number of illegal firearms on our streets. It also means sending resources to our schools in a way that ensures all children, especially those in our poorest communities, receive a quality education.”
Dr. Brice Harris
Dr. Brice Harris, Chancellor, California Community Colleges
California Community Colleges Chancellor Brice W. Harris today praised Gov. Jerry Brown for including in his proposed 2013-14 budget additional funding for community colleges and for his leadership of an initiative to help more students achieve their academic and career goals through improved online education.
“Governor Brown’s leadership in passing Proposition 30 means California community colleges can begin to make room for some of the hundreds of thousands of students who have been shut out of our system due to recent funding cuts,” Harris said. “This budget represents a good start toward financial recovery for our system. The governor and voters deserve credit for beginning this overdue reinvestment.”
The governor’s budget would provide $197 million more to the college system in 2013-14 and directs the California Community Colleges Board of Governors to determine the best way to allocate the money to districts. The funding increase would allow colleges statewide to add back thousands of classes to serve some of the nearly 500,000 students turned away over the past four years during the state’s financial crisis and at the same time continue the system’s work to improve student success.
The additional funds, as well as $179 million to make good on funding commitments that were deferred during the recession, will leave colleges with less debt and better positioned to meet the needs of an economy that increasingly is demanding college-educated workers.
Harris said that the California community college system has already laid the groundwork for the governor’s desire to improve online education. Twenty-seven percent of community college students take at least one course online each year, nearly 17 percent of all courses offered are through distance education, and almost half of all classes currently offered involve some online components. The California Community College Online Initiative would improve students’ access to courses and increase rates of transfer and degree attainment in the following ways:
* Creation of a centralized “virtual campus” that brings together several existing distance education services into a single hosting system with a 24/7 support center for students. Leveraging the purchasing power of the 112-college system would save money and help students find and take the courses they need through a common on-line course management portal.
* Expanded options for students to obtain college credit by exam. Working with the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges, the Chancellor’s Office will create challenge exams for core courses for Associate Degree for Transfer majors as well as remedial courses. Students would have the option of acquiring the skills and knowledge necessary to pass these exams through Massive Open Online Course (MOOCS) and credits awarded would be transportable California State University and the University of California.
The governor’s budget proposal also recognizes the significant role California’s community colleges play in workforce development, with significantly expanded resources for clean energy job training. The proposal also calls for shifting additional apprenticeship responsibilities to community colleges and shifting adult education responsibilities performed by K-12 to the community colleges. Over decades, uneven approaches to adult education have developed, with K-12 educating some students and community colleges educating others. Recent funding cuts have limited access to these classes, which help adults become economically self-sufficient.
“We view this budget proposal as a vote of confidence in our ability to provide workforce training and basic skills instruction to adult learners, and we look forward to conversations on ways to better serve these populations,” Harris said.
California State Student Association:
The California State Student Association (CSSA) applauds Gov. Brown’s decision to support the California State University (CSU) system with an additional $125 million dollars this year and in 2014/2015, as well as an additional increase the following two years.
Gov. Brown’s budget stipulates that this additional money is predicated on a four-year tuition freeze at the CSU. This will provide relief to the 400,000+ CSU students, who continue to bare an increased share of the cost of a college education. The measure does not, however, address the growing need to increase college access in order to meet the state’s long-term workforce needs.
“Gov. Brown’s budget provides much needed relief to the CSU system, which was forced to cut thousands of jobs, increase class sizes, and raise tuition due to the drastic cuts in its budget the last five years,” said Pedro Ramirez, VP of Legislative Affairs for CSSA. “CSSA will adopt an official position on the Governor’s budget at its January 20 plenary and I am hopeful that the Governor and the legislature will include student input during the budget negotiation process.”
Given the passage of Proposition 30 and California’s recovering economy, California is now in a place to refocus its efforts on reinvesting in higher education. While CSSA believes Gov. Brown’s budget is a step in the right direction, CSU state funding levels remain at 2000/2001 levels whilst enrollment has grown by over 90,000 students. Year after year, the CSU receives a record number of applications to attend the university yet can only admit a small percentage of students. College access continues to be an issue in California and, if not addressed immediately, will surely result in the one million college graduate shortage predicated by 2025.
CSSA looks forward to working with Gov. Brown and the California legislature this year to support higher education and California’s future.
It is the mission of the California State Student Association (CSSA) to maintain and enhance accessibility for the people of California to the California State University (CSU). As the single recognized voice for over 430,000 students in the California State University system, CSSA is the acknowledged statewide student organization designated to represent, serve and protect the collective interests of CSU students.