(San Diego) Assembly Majority Leader Toni Atkins made the following statement in response to Governor Jerry Brown’s proposed 2013-14 state budget, which he unveiled this morning:
“Governor Brown’s proposal is a balanced plan that reflects the hard work the legislature and the governor have done together to address a $26.6 billion deficit California faced two years ago. It is an excellent starting point for the discussions we will hold in the legislature over the next several months as we craft a final budget.
For the first time in years, instead of facing the prospect of drastic cuts to critical education, health, and social services, we are hopeful that we may be able to achieve fiscal stability. And while we will not be able to restore all of the cuts made in recent years, I applaud the Governor’s prioritization of investments in education and healthcare, both of which are critical to the well-being of our state and its residents.
The Governor’s budget recognizes the uncertainties we face – possible cuts from the federal government, a stalled economic recovery, and other difficult to predict factors – and reflects a fiscal constraint that my legislative colleagues and I will embrace.”
Following are some of the highlights of the Governor’s proposal that will be of particular interest to my constituents:
∙ Following years of underfunding, per pupil spending in our public schools will increase. School districts with a higher share of students who are poor or who have learning challenges will receive additional financial support. Local flexibility and accountability is increased.
∙ Student costs at our colleges and universities will be stabilized through an infusion of additional funding. Community colleges, adult and online education, so critical to maintaining our trained workforce, also receive additional support.
∙ The implementation of the Affordable Care Act and other health care priorities will require additional funding, as reflected in the Governor’s proposal, but will ultimately result in health and financial security and well-being for thousands of Californians. The Governor’s proposal also provides additional time for the implementation of the Coordinated Care Initiative adopted last year, ensuring a seamless transition of care for sick and needy Californians.
∙ Funding for local government programs such as public safety will be stabilized, based in part upon additional revenues approved by the voters through Proposition 30.
∙ The budget allocation for the state’s High Speed Rail program continues to anticipate that the system will be extended to San Diego in its second phase, bringing economic activity, jobs, and improved transit to our area.
∙ Two new Veterans Homes in Redding and Fresno will improve the services available to those who have served in uniform, many of whom have ties to San Diego.
The state legislature will soon begin a series of budget hearings to discuss and refine the Governor’s proposals and to establish its own financial priorities. The final budget must be sent to the Governor by June 15.