Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar) and Republican Budget Committee Vice-Chair Jim Nielsen (R-Gerber) offered their initial reactions this morning to Governor Brown's 2014-2015 budget proposal. Both indicated the irony that many of the proposals are the same recommendations Republicans have made for the past decade.
"Generally speaking we're pleased to see our schools benefit, but the rainy day reserve needs to be more robust, and the ACA 4 proposal supported by Democrats and Republicans is a better starting point," Senator Huff said. "The Governor wisely identified the need to pay down debt in this budget, but there's more that needs to be done. As he notes, there is a $355 billion mountain of debt that isn't going away. His High Speed Rail proposal is a non-starter. Even if his idea to take money from the Cap & Trade fund is legal - which we don't believe it is -businesses throughout the state will be forced to pay for it. That means higher gas costs and fewer jobs for middle class families. Too many people, too many families, are still hurting and looking for work. We need to help California workers find jobs.
"The big question is, can the Governor hold strong against the spending demands made by his fellow Democrats," Senator Huff added. "Judging by the way they want to spend money, you'd think California was booming. Sadly, that's not the case. Our unemployment rate is still among the highest in the country and that's not acceptable. Ramping up state spending before making sure we're on solid fiscal ground is a recipe for disaster. What's the good of building up programs only to tear them down in a couple of years? We've seen this movie before, and it doesn't have a happy ending."
Senator Nielsen added, "I appreciate that the Governor is advocating fiscal restraint. This budget proposal, however, doesn't adequately address the structural deficit that continues to plague the state treasury. It also continues to fund the Governor's 'dream' of the High Speed Rail that California taxpayers don't want and can't afford.
"California's budget problems have not been erased by the financial windfall created by recent tax increases. We have a $350 billion 'wall of debt' that must be paid down so our economy can grow. Our state's economy is not recovering like the rest of the country. We must address the need to create more jobs for Californians who want to work."Also weighing in with a news release was Assemblyman Curt Hagman, who also represents Walnut and Diamond Bar.
Today, Assemblyman Curt Hagman, R–Chino Hills, responded to the release of Governor Brown’s budget proposal for the 2014-15 fiscal year, saying that he agreed with the Governor’s call for spending restraint.
Assemblyman Hagman noted that although the state has a projected surplus, the Legislature still has serious issues to sort out. Assemblyman Hagman said that lawmakers and the Governor should focus on saving the predicted surplus for a rainy day so that at the end of the Proposition 30 tax increases, schools and other vital programs will not face drastic cuts.
Additionally, he stated that priorities should include tackling California’s wall of debt, and spending money on programs that aid job creation such as essential transportation and water infrastructure projects.
“I agree with the Governor that California’s priority needs to be reducing the State’s wall of debt” said Assemblyman Hagman.
“We need to be open and transparent when conducting the budget process, focus on curtailing spending growth in costly programs we still cannot afford, and enact pro-jobs reforms that will help grow the economy and get people working again,” Hagman continued.
Assemblyman Hagman cautioned that an optimistic budget outlook is not a signal to increase spending on new state programs that would only worsen deficits in a future economic downturn.
“Majority party leaders in the Senate and Assembly should heed the Governor’s advice to exercise restraint this coming year instead of squandering unexpected revenues.”