Thursday, the California State Legislature passed the Fiscal Year 2019-20 budget along party lines. At $215 billion, it is the largest budget in the history of the state due to new tax increases and hundreds of millions of last minute pork additions.
Just eight years ago when Gov. Jerry Brown produced his first budget after returning to office, it was $98 billion. The budget has grown by more than 100 percent, while the population has only grown by just three percent.
Republicans and Democrats had very different reactions to the budget:
“California should be on an aggressive savings spree,” Sen. John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa) said. “I voted against the budget today because it falls short of what is frustrating Californians and their needs. It is the largest budget in the history of the state thanks to tax increases and last minute pork additions.”
Senate just passed AB 74, the Que Sera Sera #CABudget, on partisan 29-11 vote.
— Team Moorlach (@teammoorlach) June 13, 2019
Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego) and Budget Committee Chair Senator Holly J. Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) issued the following statement after the Senate passed the main budget bill Thursday: “Today the Senate passed a strong budget that stands on its own and meets our constitutional deadline for passing a balanced budget by June 15. When the final votes are taken, we believe the end result will be the strongest budget package in perhaps decades, a bold and responsible budget that does significant things for the people of California, including:
- $460 million in small business tax cuts
- Highest levels of school funding in state history
- Increased enrollment and CSU and UC with no tuition increases
- Lower health care costs for middle-income Californians
Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood) said: “While there are some details to fill in over the coming weeks, we know now that this is a budget that says California can help all its residents – and we will help all our residents.”
“The state budget has grown 100% in the last decade,” said Assemblyman Vince Fong (R-Bakersfield). “Yet the most important issues facing our state is getting worse, whether it’s homelessness, our neighborhoods being littered with needles and waste, insufferable traffic congestion, and the cost of living squeezing out the middle class. In fact, unaccountable government bureaucracy continues to grow and taxpayers get the bill. This is unacceptable. Californians are rightfully tired of paying more and getting less. This budget only reinforces Sacramento’s irresponsible and unsustainable tax-and-spend behavior.”
Senator Jeff Stone (R-Riverside County) said, “Budgets are about priorities. I agree with the belief that we should be philanthropic to the working families who struggle to make ends meet. I agree that we should care about working poor who can’t afford healthcare. That’s why I find it morally wrong to raise taxes on working men and women in order to give free healthcare to individuals between the ages of 18 and 25 who are in this country illegally.”
Sen. Jim Nielsen (R-Gerber) said: “This budget raises taxes on Californians despite a $22 billion surplus. It funds healthcare for undocumented immigrants by a whopping $100 million. It offers no accountability for the chronic mismanagement at the Department of Motor Vehicles. It commits to permanent spending that will take the state back to the deficits of the Davis Administration. Therefore, I cannot support it.”
“With over $19 billion in reserves for future rainy days, this budget is fiscally responsible while improving housing, expanding health care and boosting education,” said Assemblyman Jose Medina (D-Riverside). “As Chair of the Assembly Committee on Higher Education, I am particularly pleased that funding is being invested in our students, especially in mental health, housing, financial aid and enrollment. I look forward to our Governor’s signature on this budget so that we can pass one of the most progressive budgets in California’s history.”
“Despite a budget surplus of $22 billion, the record $215 billion budget framework that the Legislature approved today is contingent on more costly tax increases,” Sen. Pat Bates (R-Laguna Niguel) said. “For example, imposing a tax on U.S. citizens and legal immigrants who do not have health insurance will make California even more unaffordable.”
“At the same time, making undocumented immigrants eligible for taxpayer-funded health benefits is a false promise given that Medi-Cal is struggling to serve existing enrollees. It could also encourage more illegal immigration. Sacramento should instead address Medi-Cal’s long wait times, inadequate access, and low reimbursement rates for health providers,” Bates added.
“The overall budget increases spending on education and increases our rainy day fund, two very important goals for the long-term stability of California,” said Senator Anthony J. Portantino (D–La Cañada Flintridge). “It also stabilizes the affordable care act, provides funding for clean water and enrollment growth for the CSU &UC. The Governor also brought energy and a targeted focus on early education. We all know that helping our youngest learners early in their developmental process helps them for the rest of their lives. The budget includes several proposals that I brought forward that I believe will make a positive difference moving ahead. In particular, increased special education funding and helping to address colleges’ student homeless problem make me very pleased to have voted today to support the budget.”
Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez (R-Lake Elsinore) Tweeted:
Last year LA spent $619M on homelessness. Result? 12% INCREASE in homelessness.
Sacramento democrats today voted to spend $650M on homelessness statewide.
Expect similar results. But hey, at least there’s that $3M dog park they’re building. #CADeservesBetter MM.
— Melissa Melendez (@asmMelendez) June 13, 2019
“Year after year, Sacramento Democrats continue to push the envelope on spending. The majority party has passed another record-spending budget to the tune of $215 billion,” said Senate Republican Leader Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield). “With a $22 billion surplus, the Governor and Sacramento Democrats are handing out millions of dollars to pet projects and placing more burdens on our hardworking families with new taxes. A lot more work needs to be done to make California affordable for families, but it doesn’t start with new taxes.
“Senate Republicans pushed hard to get funding allocated for the developmentally disabled community,” Grove said. “But I am disappointed they did not receive the full amount needed to continue helping the most vulnerable members of our communities. And let’s not forget starting July 1st, California drivers will pay an additional 5.6 cents per gallon of gas which Sacramento Democrats advocated for in 2017. This gas tax increase will make California less affordable and take another $850 million out of our families’ pocketbooks. Where is the relief for California drivers?”
Senator Stone added, “We all want people to be able to live the American dream. Unfortunately, the Democrat majority seems to believe the dream is having taxpayers pay for free stuff for everyone instead of everyone becoming taxpayers.”