Statements from Senate GOP Leader, Budget Vice Chair on 2015-16 State Budget

Friday, January 9, 2015

Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar):   “The governor has proposed a reasonable budget that appears to be balanced in the near term.  We share his concerns on the hundreds of billions in unfunded liabilities and other debts for public employee pensions, retiree health care, and infrastructure.    There is a lot to like about this budget. It builds the rainy day reserve and pays off debts. It increases funding for K-14 education and calls for continuing to freeze college tuition. We look forward to working with him to properly fund California’s roads, bridges and highways. We should start by returning the nearly $1 billion in annual transportation tax revenues that have been diverted for other state spending.  This will help strengthen the economy and get more people back to work.

However, this budget grows total state spending by $15 billion over last year’s budget, and Democrats have already started calling for even more.   If spending continues to grow at this pace we will have another budget crisis and that’s a real concern.  The governor will need to continue his responsible approach to fixing our economy by paying down debt, building the rainy day fund, and ensuring there are sufficient dollars to pay for existing programs. Senate Republicans are ready to work with him.”

Senator Jim Nielsen (R-Gerber), Vice Chair of the Senate Budget Committee, applauds the proposals and asks his Democrat colleagues to follow the governor’s lead.

“Republicans can agree with the Democrat governor. He is keeping faith with the voters in building the Rainy Day Fund. It is excellent that he has built debt retirement into the budget.

“The biggest challenge is that this budget is ‘precariously balanced,' something the Governor himself has acknowledged. Current revenue derives from the temporary taxes, which will end. If the Legislature goes on a spending spree using the Rainy Day Fund and additional taxes, then this ‘precariously balanced’ budget will be a disaster again. It is up to the Governor to stand up to his own party and hold the line on spending.

“The renewable energy program that the Governor is trying to advance will hurt the middle class. The taxes that will be imposed on gas and energy bills will negatively impact income for middle and working class families.”