Early reaction from California officials to Gov. Jerry Brown’s May budget revision for 2018-2019, released Friday morning, has been mixed.
Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas:
“With California now accounting for a quarter of the nation’s homeless population, I’m glad to see that Governor Jerry Brown is ready to confront this crisis. But while one-time funding from this budget is welcome, we need dedicated ongoing state funding to address the crisis of homelessness in a comprehensive manner.”
State Senator Scott Wilk (R-Antelope Valley):
“Today’s announcement of an almost $9 billion budget surplus leaves little doubt our economy is thriving. I applaud Governor Brown for prioritizing infrastructure, homelessness and the state’s rainy day fund.
“This is a golden opportunity to correct years of fiscal mismanagement and address areas the majority party has chosen to neglect – crumbling infrastructure, water storage, unfunded pension liabilities and the states homeless crisis.
“California may be the fifth largest economy in the world, but our financial picture goes from gloom to doom when our long-term obligations are factored in. California is actually $127.5 billion dollars in the red when our pensions, deferred maintenance and bond liabilities are taken into account.
“Now is the time for fiscal restraint and forward thinking; an all-out spending spree ignores our financial problems and creates further hardship when money is scarce. Prioritizing our infrastructure, bolstering our rainy-day fund and putting our financial house in order with a one-time injection of money will put a dent in some of our most serious challenges and protect taxpayers from the inevitable shakedown in lean years.”
Assemblyman Dante Acosta (R-Santa Clarita):
“I am happy to see that Governor Brown agrees that filling up the rainy day fund is important.
“However, this one act of fiscal prudence doesn’t make up for the fact that spending is still increasing $5.2 billion dollars. The current surplus also calls into question the dozens of bills working their way through the legislature which would raise taxes by tens of billions of dollars on hardworking Californians.
“California should refocus on the core missions that our state government is tasked with: keeping California’s streets safe, investing in K-12 and higher education, helping our foster youth and addressing the growing issue of housing affordability and homelessness.”
Acosta represents the 38th Assembly District stretching from Vasquez Rocks in Agua Dulce to the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley, which encompasses the communities of Santa Clarita, Porter Ranch, Chatsworth, Granada Hills and portions of Northridge.
State Senate Leader Toni Atkins (D-San Diego):
“California’s economy is growing and revenues projections are strong, but we cannot afford complacency or carelessness. Too many families have been left out of our resurgence, and recent history reminds us that we need to be prepared for a sudden downturn.
“The Governor’s updated proposal provides a strong starting point. Senate Democrats support the administration’s proposals to fill the Rainy Day Fund, expand the Earned Income Tax Credit, and invest in infrastructure, mental health and homelessness programs. We’re also pleased that our investments in education will continue to increase this budget year.
“We have a solid framework in place to build for the future. But we also have to lift up the families that are struggling now. We will work with the Governor and our Assembly colleagues to craft a budget that is responsible, honest, and makes progress for the people of California.”
Senator and Senate Budget Committee Chair Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles):
“Clearly the state is on solid economic footing, as demonstrated by both our revenues and reserves. I commend the stewardship of California’s budget by both the Legislature and the administration. The governor has laid out a good working foundation that will allow us to support local governments in our mutual efforts to address homelessness, mental health and infrastructure needs.
“I look forward to the opportunity to continue to build on the governor’s proposal to ensure the state budget is a reflection of our values in which all Californians can thrive.”
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra:
“Today’s budget provides a prudent framework for California’s financial future while investing in programs that help Californians thrive. The Department of Justice has a strong track record of efficiently and effectively fighting for Californians: from protecting the health of our people and our environment to defending the civil rights of our most vulnerable populations to cracking down on crime so that our communities can feel more secure.
“As we continue our work of enforcing California law and promoting public safety, we know that we must evolve with the times – 21st-century forensic tools are necessary to combat 21st-century crimes. These budget resources will support crucial forensic tools that help stop cybercrime, improve DNA identification, and prevent human trafficking.
“Today’s budget will help the hardworking men and women at the Department of Justice as they work to make our communities safer, but there is always more we can do. I look forward to working with the Legislature and Governor Brown to ensure the Department of Justice can do even more to promote public safety, enforce California’s laws, and defend the State’s interests against federal overreach.”
California State University Chancellor Timothy P. White:
“We are grateful that Governor Brown has dedicated one-time funding ($100 million for each university system — UC and CSU) to help address one of the university’s areas of need by helping finance some of our large backlog of deferred maintenance.
“However, with state revenue continuing to exceed projections – and California facing a large need for more educated citizens over the next decade – there is both a need and an opportunity to reinvest in the operating budgets of public higher education – and the CSU specifically.
“That critical and necessary investment will ensure that the nearly half a million students on our 23 campuses have the opportunity to take the courses and receive the academic and support services that lead directly to an excellent college degree.
“During this final stretch of budget negotiations, the university community will continue to reinforce to California’s lawmakers that sufficiently funding the CSU is the key to the state’s prosperity. The legislature now has the opportunity to fund the university’s highest priorities to serve our students.
“I remain encouraged that our message is being well received and optimistic that the governor and legislature will #chooseCSU in the final state budget that comes out in June.”
Gov. Jerry Brown’s revised 2018-19 state budget proposal includes an ongoing increase of $92.1 million for the CSU and $100 million in one-time funding for use to support deferred maintenance.
In their 2018-19 budget request, CSU trustees had requested an increase of $263 million to address critical priorities including Graduation Initiative 2025, enrollment growth, obligatory increases for employee compensation, healthcare and retirement costs and infrastructure.
Under Graduation Initiative 2025, completion and retention rates have reached all-time highs as nearly 100,000 graduates earned a high-quality bachelor’s degree in 2017.
On April 20, White announced that the university would not increase tuition in the 2018-19 academic year. Without sufficient funding from the state, the university will face adverse consequences including the slowing of recent advances in student achievement.