Local Legislators: Mixed Reviews for Revised State Budget

TurlockCityNews.com/Courtesy of Team Cannella

California State Senator Anthony Cannella (R-Ceres) and Assemblymember Kristin Olsen (R-Modesto) offered mixed reactions to California Governor Jerry Brown’s revised 2014-15 budget proposal, which he released Tuesday.

Brown’s revised budget proposes to reduce California’s so-called “Wall of Debt” by $11 billion this year. Brown hopes to fully eliminate the debt by 2017-18.

“The Governor’s revised budget shows necessary restraint in spending, allowing us to continue to pay down debt,” said Cannella. “As we see our revenues rise, we must remain focused on addressing our long term challenges. The Governor correctly pointed out the extreme fluctuations that have come from capital gains and the dangers of using those funds on new spending.”

Olsen also applauded Brown’s revised budget for its allocation of $1.6 billion toward a “rainy day fund.”

“The Governor’s Budget revision includes much stronger allocations for a rainy day fund than he had proposed in January, which I am very pleased to see,” said Olsen. “Over the past few weeks the Governor and Democrat leaders have worked with Republicans to draft a ballot proposal that I am proud to co-author, as it will allow us to truly save money in reserve so we can pay down debt and so that we can avoid deep budget cuts and steep tax increases when the next economic downturn arrives. This negotiation process has been encouraging, and I look forward to participating in the debate as we move forward toward the ultimate success of this measure.”

While applauding the rainy day fund, Olsen criticized the revision’s lack of focus on drought relief and higher education.

“While I’m very pleased that our negotiated Rainy Day Fund is included in the Governor’s revised budget, I was surprised and disappointed that he didn’t address other important priorities – water storage and drought relief, higher education, and other investments to help grow our economy,” Olsen said. “Reserve savings alone will not revitalize our state; we must invest in our infrastructure and in the education of our youth in order to grow jobs and opportunities that will allow us to reclaim our status as the Golden State.”

The May Revision provides an additional $142 million for drought-related expenditures, but that money is not necessarily directed at drought relief. The budget also brings about $119 million in additional funding allocated to higher education.

Overall, the Governor called the proposed revised budget “good news.”

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