Californians Deserved A Better Budget

Responsibly spending taxpayer money should be the top budget priority.

This year’s budget spends a record amount of taxpayer money at a time when California is considered ill-prepared to weather the fiscal storms Governor Brown states are inevitably heading our way. This risky budget also increased fees that make it more expensive to live here and created new government programs instead of fixing existing health care programs that serve our most vulnerable.

The 2016-17 Budget passed by the majority party and signed by Governor Brown:

Spends unsustainably

The 2016-17 budget represents a spending increase of nearly $7 billion from the previous year and paves the way for future billion dollar deficits the Brown administration projects for 2019-20. The majority party has made numerous decisions over the past several years that are ramping up spending dramatically, such as approving an ill-advised minimum wage mandate. As a result, state spending is now projected to grow faster than revenues over the next three years, leading the Brown administration to project a $4 billion budget deficit by 2019-20.

Increases fees that make it even more expensive to live in California

The 2016-17 budget increases fees by nearly $500 million, including a $331 million increase in the vehicle registration fee (from $43 to $53 per vehicle).

Prioritizes state buildings over roads

The 2016-17 budget also approved spending $1.3 billion on state government office buildings. Senate Republicans believe that some of these funds should have been redirected to transportation projects. After all, the California Transportation Commission announced in May that local projects totaling $754 million would be eliminated and that another $755 million in projects would be delayed.

Senate Republicans support bipartisan ideas to save for a rainy day and invest in K-12 education.

Senate Republicans worked hard to ensure an additional $2 billion was included in the Rainy Day Fund, that money is invested in K-12 education, and that tuition for University of California (UC) and California State University (CSU) students remains flat. 

Senate Republicans applaud the $71.9 billion Proposition 98 funding guarantee contained in the budget for K-12 education. This all-time high represents a $3.5 billion increase over the prior budget and is almost $25 billion or 52 percent more than the post-recession low in 2011-12.

Senate Republicans advocated for increased higher education funding – on the condition that public colleges and universities admit more in-state students.

The 2016-17 budget continued recent years’ increases to California’s higher education systems, including funding contingent on adding in-state students. 

Many Senate Republicans supported providing $35 million to help improve CSU graduation rates and close the graduation gap between low-income students and other students, as well as $1.1 million in ongoing funding for a Student Success Network to improve student outcomes across all campuses. $25 million in ongoing funding for the UC’s admission of 5,000 more resident undergraduates by fall 2016 was also applauded.

The budget provided substantial funding augmentations for California Community Colleges, including:

  • $200 million for workforce education programs
  • $48 million to continue the Career Technical Education Pathways Program and support collaboration between schools and local employers
  • $25 million in one-time funding for Innovation Awards focusing on technology and data, transfer pathways, and successful transitions from higher education to the workforce

These funding increases are in line with Senate Republicans’ priority to educate and prepare individuals to be career-ready for 21st century jobs.

Senate Republicans also advanced legislation to increase transparency and reform at the University of California and support priority enrollment for California students.

The late Senator Sharon Runner introduced SCA 12, a state constitutional amendment requiring the University of California to post the academic profiles of incoming classes on each campus’ website, broken down by in-state, out-of-state, and foreign students. The bill did not move through the legislature.

BACK TO COMMON SENSE FOR CALIFORNIA