Senate Republicans React to Governor Brown's 2016-17 Budget Proposal

Thursday, January 7, 2016

SACRAMENTO – Senate Republicans issued the following statements in response to Governor Brown’s 2016-17 budget proposal:

Senate Republican Leader Jean Fuller (R-Bakersfield)

“Governor Brown’s record-setting budget proposal proves that California doesn’t have a revenue problem, and our state’s priorities can be funded without extending or raising taxes.

“Budgets are about priorities and we can’t go on a spending spree.

“The backbone of California’s economic engine, agriculture and reliable energy, is suffering. Furthermore, we can’t take our roads and water delivery system for granted and must address these fundamental needs that are in distress. We are committed to caring for California’s most vulnerable people, and keeping our communities safe.”

Senator Jim Nielsen (R-Gerber), Vice Chair of the Senate Budget Committee

“The Governor should be applauded for proposing a prudent budget.

“With over $5 billion in surplus money, there is no need for new or extended taxes. 

“We can continue to pay down the state’s debt, increase the state’s savings account for a rainy day fund and existing programs that help California’s most vulnerable, particularly services for people with developmental disabilities.”

Senator Pat Bates (R-Laguna Niguel)

“The Governor should be commended for heeding Republican priorities to protect educational opportunities for students, further pay down debt and build the Rainy Day Fund. While his budget includes a proposal to improve our state’s bad roads, we must do more to reform government and streamline existing transportation spending to provide the long-term funding that our roads need. Californians should not be burdened with unfair tax increases and fees to pay for years of inaction.”

Senator Tom Berryhill (R-Twain Harte)

“I am glad to see a focus on fiscal stability and bolstering the Rainy Day Fund. I am also very pleased to see some relief for the communities impacted by wildfires. There is a lot more to be done to protect our forests and the communities near them, but this is a start. I remain disappointed that the governor prefers additional taxes to repair roads and bridges, rather than prioritizing more of our general fund dollars on that task. Maintaining a solid and safe transportation infrastructure should be more of a priority.”

Senator Anthony Cannella (R-Ceres)

“With the increased revenues that our state government is realizing, I am pleased that Governor Brown remains committed to bolstering our reserves, rebuilding our transportation system, and increasing funding to education. With a budget that is $6 billion larger than last year, we must remain prudent in using our new funds to invest in California and prepare for our next economic downturn. I was disappointed that we were unable to reach a transportation funding package last year and am glad to see the Governor is keeping it a priority. We cannot continue to delay the rebuilding of our transportation infrastructure.”

Senator Ted Gaines (R-El Dorado)

“Governor Brown sounds all the right notes about fiscal discipline and debt reduction, but has proposed the largest ever state spending plan and wants to raise taxes on managed health care plans and transportation. The Legislative Analyst’s Office has forecasted a higher-than-expected increase in revenues for 2016-17 in the billions. How can we justify taking more money out of the pocketbooks of hardworking Californians when we have a budget surplus?”

Senator Bob Huff (R-San Dimas)

“It’s not a terrible plan and contains elements that I like and some things that I don’t agree with. I do support the Governor’s plan to add more money than necessary to the state’s Rainy Day Fund because it’s always a prudent move to plan for the next economic downturn. I’m also pleased that the Governor has largest resisted the urge to increase spending on many social programs or create new programs that demand ongoing funding. These are the priorities shared by Senate Republicans.”

Senator John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa)

“Californians already pay the nation’s highest income, sales and gas taxes, when cap and trade taxes are included. We can’t ask families to pay even more in higher gas taxes for road maintenance that should already be in the budget. This year's budget anticipates $7 billion in new revenues. We need to live within our means and fix our roads with these existing funds.  The fight over raising gas taxes will be a major point of disagreement this year between Republicans and legislative Democrats.”

Senator Mike Morrell (R-Rancho Cucamonga)

“What we have from the governor is another budget that grows government at record levels with taxpayer money while ignoring many of the real challenges facing our state. He and his Democrat colleagues continue to call for higher taxes, increasing the cost of gas and health care for California families, yet they refuse to use existing money to appropriately fund priorities like services for the developmentally disabled and our roads and highways. This is not an effective or efficient use of taxpayer dollars.”

Senator Janet Nguyen (R-Fountain Valley)

“I am very pleased to see the Governor continue to save for a rainy day. This will help avoid cuts in the next recession.  However, I respectfully disagree with the Governor’s assertion that we need a tax increase to take care of the most vulnerable in our state. Since the Governor has been in office, the General Fund has grown by $34.1 billion, a close to 40% increase. That should be sufficient to adequately fund vital services to the developmentally disabled and improve access to health services for low income Californians.”

Senator Sharon Runner (R-Antelope Valley)

“Overall, I respect Governor Brown’s commitment to continue investing in California’s rainy day fund while avoiding additional permanent spending. However, I am disappointed Governor Brown’s budget fails to adequately deal with the significant issue of California’s crumbling transportation infrastructure and plays a shell game with the cost of healthcare. Instead of addressing these problems, Governor Brown is leaving it to the Legislature to raise taxes. California’s taxpayers are already overburdened; additional taxes are not an acceptable solution.”

Senator Jeff Stone (R-Riverside County)

“While the Governor has sent a signal to entrenched Sacramento special interests that there is not a blank check for government expansion, a door was left open for higher taxes – along with a questionable proposal with regard to the existing Managed Care Organization Tax. I’m hopeful that Legislative Democrats will heed the Governor’s prudence and not fall into the temptation of adopting new programs and increasing government budgets.”

Senator Andy Vidak (R-Hanford)

“With budget surpluses projected to be in the billions, funding developmental disability services should be a top priority of this year’s budget. Cap and Trade dollars should NOT be used to fund High-Speed Rail – it is a gross polluter that will destroy farms, homes, businesses and families. Those funds should instead be used to invest in current transportation infrastructure to create jobs, and improve statewide and regional transportation needs, such as improvements to Highways 99, 41 and Interstate 5. Continuing to fund the early release of criminals is endangering our communities and is certainly NOT saving the taxpayers the dollars promised. The program needs to be scrapped and prisoners need to be returned to state prison. In addition, with budget coffers overflowing with excess funds from the Prop. 30 – the tax hike of 2012 – there is absolutely no need to raise taxes for health care and/or transportation. This budget should fund a Transportation Inspector General to investigate Caltrans and the High-Speed Rail Authority and then report back to the Legislature any instances of fraud, waste and abuse. This could save the state billions of taxpayer dollars, as has been the case in many other states.”