Senate Republicans Respond to Governor's 2018-19 Budget Proposal

Thursday, January 11, 2018

SACRAMENTO – Members of the California State Senate Republican Caucus have issued the following statements in response to the governor’s 2018-19 budget proposal today:

Senate Republican Leader Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel):

“California’s projected budget surplus provides an opportunity to do the right thing for taxpayers, and I’m encouraged that the governor wants to add an additional $3.5 billion into the state’s Rainy Day Fund. Republicans fought to establish the Rainy Day Fund, and we share the governor’s concerns about a return to deficit spending as even a mild recession could lead to painful decisions in the future.

“My Senate Republican colleagues and I are advocating for a pragmatic ‘2-2-2’ framework that ensures the surplus will not be squandered on spending we cannot afford. The governor’s budget already sets a new record high of $132 billion in spending. Senate Republicans stand ready to help the governor pass a fiscally responsible budget for all Californians.”

Senator Jim Nielsen (R-Tehama), Vice Chair, Senate Budget & Fiscal Review Committee:

“Republicans fought for a Rainy Day fund and applaud the Governor for continuing this commitment to saving for future emergencies. If the excess tax revenue is to be used, it should only be invested in one-time expenditures that relieve future taxpayer obligations. What we must not do, is continue creating new programs that burden taxpayers forever.”

Senator Tom Berryhill (R-Modesto):

“Governor Brown’s budget only proves what Republicans have been saying all along: Taxes are too darn high. Instead of spending the significant surplus on new government programs that will only lead to even higher taxes in down years, let’s at least put the money to good use by paying down pension debt, investing in local communities and protecting against economic downturns in the future.”

Senator Anthony Cannella (R-Ceres):

“I am heartened that the governor continues to be cautious with California’s finances. While our region continues to slowly recover, a slight economic downturn could halt our gains. Fiscal restraint and investing taxpayer dollars wisely have been the hallmark of my time in office that will continue in 2018.

“While it is important to build our reserves, we need to also invest in our infrastructure. This year provides us an opportunity to build on the promise of last year’s tremendous investment in transportation and further our state’s economic growth.”

Senator Jean Fuller (R-Bakersfield):

“California taxpayers pay an enormous cost to support state government, and they should expect their contributions to be spent wisely and responsibly.

“The state budget is projected to receive higher than expected revenue from taxpayers. Senate Republicans believe these unexpected revenues should be used to invest in the safety and health of our neighborhoods, increase our rainy day reserve, and accelerate debt repayment.

“We have an extraordinary opportunity to limit the debt and pension burden we have bestowed on the next generation, while increasing investment to local government priorities that most directly impact the daily lives of all their residents.

“It is my hope the majority party will take this opportunity as seriously as my Republican colleagues and use these unexpected resources wisely and responsibly.”

Senator Ted Gaines (R-El Dorado):

“A state surplus is just another way of saying overtaxed. The state is sitting on $7.5 billion of taxpayer money that it doesn’t need while continuing to increase taxes on everything from gasoline to real estate transactions. It doesn’t add up. The state needs to refund the money immediately to those who earned it, and give taxpayers a surplus for once.”

Senator John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa):

“Governor Brown admits that the "last 5 budgets have significantly increased spending,” and this budget proposal is no different. Coming in at just under $300 billion dollars of total spending, debt and poverty remain at all-time highs. Even worse, our balance sheet is massively short and unfunded liabilities are in the hundreds of billions of dollars.  Our underfunded pension systems will get minimum payments of $6.2 billion for CalPERS and $3.1billion for CalSTRS.

“These costs are directly related to policies Jerry Brown embraced 40 years ago during his first time as governor. While he's sensitive to a possible economic slowdown and should be lauded for increasing our rainy day funds, he has been a spendthrift in Sacramento.

“We have to acknowledge that the $9.3 billion in pension payments won't go to pay for more teachers or cut college tuition or build roads right now. And yet, we're foisting these liabilities on future generations at a higher cost unless we do more to address them now. I was wondering how serious Governor Brown would be in his last budget about addressing our liabilities. It looks like he’s kicking the can down the road to the next governor. Oh well.”

Senator Mike Morrell (R-Rancho Cucamonga):

“With this budget’s unexpected surplus – the result of over-taxing by Sacramento Democrats – the focus should be on making sure these funds are used to shore up the state’s rainy day fund, to pay down existing debt, and to return money to taxpayers. As we have seen in previous years, the temptation for the governor and the Democrat majority will be to increase spending on programs that will create immense government debt down the road. Californians should see government working efficiently and responsibly, and they should see more of their hard-earned money so they can invest it in their futures and the futures of their children.”

Senator Janet Nguyen (R-Garden Grove):

“Governor Brown’s intent to allocate $15.5 billion over 5 years for the high-speed rail project opens the door to more wasteful spending of taxpayer dollars on a project that is already over budget and has no end in sight. For this reason, I call on the governor to remove this allocation.

“Although I object to the misguided use of funding for the high-speed rail project, I commend the governor’s proposal to fully fund the rainy day reserve. This will help protect taxpayers during the next recession. As an advocate for California families, I am also pleased with the governor’s funding for Cal Grants, Child Care, and Medi-Cal provider rate reimbursements which will enhance access to services for working families.

“For my part, I am committed to working with my colleagues to develop meaningful legislation that is cognizant of our spending while addressing the needs of the residents of California.”

Senator Jeff Stone (R-Riverside County):

“The governor was prudent to propose fully funding the rainy day reserve fund, but we have plenty of room to provide much-needed tax relief for California’s working families through income tax rate reductions to mitigate any negative impacts that may come from the recently adopted federal tax reform legislation. Tax reform and rate reduction that I have laid out in concept and will soon introduce as legislation should be a part of the discussion as we go through the budget process over the coming months.”

Senator Andy Vidak (R-Hanford):

Semper in excretia sumus solim profundum variat. (We're always in the manure; only the depth varies.) We’ll see what actually is grown six months from all of today’s pronouncements and press releases.”

Senator Scott Wilk (R-Antelope Valley):

“The LAO has projected a $7.5 billion budget surplus, providing us an opportunity to begin addressing our challenges. I look forward to a robust discussion with my colleagues on the Senate Budget Committee as to how these additional taxpayer dollars can be used to bolster our rainy day fund, pay down debt, maximize education funding and grow our economy.”