SACRAMENTO - Today, California's constitutional deadline to get a responsible and balanced budget came and passed. Senate Republicans voted against AB 93, the Budget Act of 2015, stating that the proposed budget was too risky, incomplete, and relied on speculative revenue assumptions.
The legislative Democrats' budget bill depended on $3.2 billion of speculative revenues and would spend $2 billion more compared to the Governor's proposed budget. Senate Democrats use speculative revenue projections to justify record levels of new state spending, $15 billion more than 2014-15, intentionally putting our state’s long term financial health at great risk.
Senate Republicans are disappointed that legislative Democrats broke rank with their Governor and presented a budget bill that is fiscally irresponsible and places the financial health of the Golden State in a perilous situation. The proposed budget presented by legislative Democrats appeared to be a collect your paycheck budget because the Democrats acknowledge this is not the budget the Governor is going to sign and they are continuing to negotiate with the Governor. Additionally, today’s vote does not include more than 20 trailer bills that would be passed in the future.
In 2010, voters approved Proposition 25, a constitutional amendment that claimed to end legislative gridlock by allowing a simple majority of legislators to approve the budget and would hold the legislators accountable if they fail to pass a balanced budget by June 15th. The voters did not want the legislative Democrats to game the system by passing a budget that will not be signed into law.
Senate Republicans issued the following statements:
"Senate Republicans will continue to fight for California families and fight for a balanced budget. Our families deserve a responsible government," said Senate Minority Leader Bob Huff (R-San Dimas). "Democrats are not serious about presenting a sensible budget for the Golden State. This is a collect your paycheck budget. We cannot in good conscience vote for a budget that calls on speculative spending revenues. It is too risky."
“The legislative budget passed by the majority party is based on revenues that are higher than even the governor believes is responsible. We must get down to reality and not build budgets that are based on ‘wishful’ thinking. We cannot afford to repeat the mistakes of the past; it is time for California to budget responsibly, on time and realistically just like California families must,” said Senate Republican Leader-elect Senator Jean Fuller (R-Bakersfield).
“This budget is not complete; negotiations are still on-going. There will be major policies in trailer bills in the coming days or weeks that will have no public input or legislative scrutiny. These trailer bills have become the norm. The Legislature must use the Governor’s more prudent and realistic revenue estimates. What the Legislature voted on today is not sustainable. The automatic spending will take the state back into deficit spending of the past,” said Senator Jim Nielsen (R-Gerber), who serves as Vice Chair of the Budget and Fiscal Review Committee.
“The undeniable fact is that this budget would spend a record $269 billion, which is $15 billion higher than last year’s budget. It also promises money that may never materialize as it assumes that the state will receive $3 billion more than what Governor Brown believes we will receive. That’s why he has not agreed to this budget. He recognizes that it repeats the foolishness of relying on rosy economic projections,” said Senator Pat Bates (R-Laguna Niguel).
“Once again we are presented with a budget which overspends and ignores the reality of our situation. We are still facing a huge amount of debt, but instead of paying down that debt, legislative Democrats are going on another spending spree – creating new programs and spending money on pet projects. It’s time for these guys to show some fiscal restraint and responsibility – something the governor has repeatedly told them all year,” said Senator Tom Berryhill (R-Twain Harte).
“I was unable to support the budget that was brought before the Senate today as it overstates our state revenues. We need to be realistic in our budgeting to ensure that we do not repeat the mistakes of the past. It is important to remain financially prudent and be prepared for the next downturn,” said Senator Anthony Cannella (R-Ceres). “While there are important aspects of the budget that I agree with, such as increased funding for education, transportation and healthcare, I hope that we are able to find a more reasonable spending plan by June 30. I look forward to working with my fellow legislators over the coming weeks in order to support a budget that is right for California.”
“California is the most innovative state in the country, except when it comes to politics. No matter the problem, no matter the year, no matter the economy, the legislative Democrats solution is always more spending. In bad times they say it stimulates the economy, in good times it celebrates it,” said Senator Ted Gaines (R-El Dorado Hills). “For the sake of the overtaxed Californians who are on the hook to pay for it, I want to ask: When is it a good time to pay down our debt, fund pensions, build the rainy day reserve and return any excess to the taxpayers? That is the key to more jobs and prosperity for all California families.”
“The state is at a critical juncture, “an inflection point,” where the state begins to seriously address its unrestricted net deficit and unfunded liabilities or continue to hire more state employees who will pay more dues to the unions that appear to be running California. This budget before us departs from Governor Brown’s call for greater fiscal restraint. Instead, it takes the most fiscally optimistic revenue estimates and spends up to that line. And many expenditures are also optimistic, if recent trends continue. Staying on this current course will lead to a fiscal implosion. The time to change course is now. I stand opposed to AB 93,” said Senator John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa).
“Today’s budget vote represents an irresponsible decision by legislative Democrats to invest questionable funding growth in new ongoing expenses. As the Governor and the Department of Finance have warned, moving in this unsustainable direction will only make budget situations down the road more difficult when the economy inevitably takes another hit. Any surplus tax dollars should be put away in the rainy day fund, used to pay down the state’s $200 billion in outstanding debt and liabilities, or invested in one-time and much needed infrastructure projects,” said Senator Mike Morrell (R-Rancho Cucamonga).
“The budget this year reflects many supportable provisions such as partially restoring rates for Medi-Cal and Developmental Services providers as well as providing additional K-12 and higher education funding. However, there are unsustainable spending levels, few reforms to programs, and elements that will have negative effects on California families, businesses, and job creation,” said Senator Janet Nguyen (R-Garden Grove).
“Unfortunately, this budget includes $500 million from Cap and Trade funds to continue chasing the high speed rail boondoggle,” said Senator Sharon Runner (R-Lancaster). “We should not spend another dollar on this failing project. Instead, Cap and Trade dollars should be used to improve our existing transportation system.”
“The budget passed by Sacramento Democrats on Monday is smoke and mirrors legislation that does little to address the fiscal reality our state faces…serious problems that hurt working class families today and will burden our children and grand-children with massive debt for years to come,” said Senator Jeff Stone (R-Riverside County).
For press inquiries or questions, please contact Jacqui Nguyen, Press Secretary for the Senate Republican Caucus at (916) 651-4029.