Today, Governor Jerry Brown released his $98 billion May Budget Revision. In response, Senator Mimi Walters (R-Irvine) made the following comments:
“I am pleased that for the first time since I was elected to the Legislature we are not confronted with a multi-billion dollar deficit. But let’s be clear, that is a result of a questionable retroactive tax that has accounted for the current projected surplus. I believe we can all agree that excessive spending and dubious budgetary gimmicks of this and previous governors have placed undue stress on California families.
“Despite the perceived good news regarding state revenues, the May Revision illuminates the continual struggle the state will face in maintaining a stable and solid budget in future years. The governor’s plan has already attempted to gloss over the state’s slow economic recovery, which the revise acknowledges that our diminished tax revenue will be unable to cover.
“In addition, the fact that the increased revenues are contingent upon increased tax rates and not real economic growth presents a distorted picture of what many Californians are experiencing today. While the budget may be balanced, California is still experiencing a 9.4% unemployment rate. To me, this represents an economy lacking opportunity and upward mobility.
“Further, while the Governor continues to acknowledge the state’s ‘Wall of Debt,’ this budget fails to address California’s $132 billion debt problem, as identified in a recent Public Policy Center report. Neither does the budget do anything to deal with the growing unfunded pension and retiree health care liabilities. These future, conservatively estimated, state costs are over $100 billion alone.
“Until the governor and the Legislature’s majority party begin the process of resolving our massive debt and liability problem, California’s long-term fiscal outlook remains uncertain.
“It is my hope that Governor Brown and Legislative Republicans can build on our common ground and begin the difficult work of returning fiscal sanity and sustainability to our state budget.”