Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar) and Republican Budget Committee Vice-Chair Jim Nielsen (R-Gerber) offered their initial reactions this morning to Governor Brown's 2014-2015 budget proposal. Both indicated the irony that many of the proposals are the same recommendations Republicans have made for the past decade.
"Generally speaking we're pleased to see our schools benefit, but the rainy day reserve needs to be more robust, and the ACA 4 proposal supported by Democrats and Republicans is a better starting point," Senator Huff said. "The Governor wisely identified the need to pay down debt in this budget, but there's more that needs to be done. As he notes, there is a $355 billion mountain of debt that isn't going away. His High Speed Rail proposal is a non-starter. Even if his idea to take money from the Cap & Trade fund is legal - which we don't believe it is -businesses throughout the state will be forced to pay for it. That means higher gas costs and fewer jobs for middle class families. Too many people, too many families, are still hurting and looking for work. We need to help California workers find jobs.
"The big question is, can the Governor hold strong against the spending demands made by his fellow Democrats," Senator Huff added. "Judging by the way they want to spend money, you'd think California was booming. Sadly, that's not the case. Our unemployment rate is still among the highest in the country and that's not acceptable. Ramping up state spending before making sure we're on solid fiscal ground is a recipe for disaster. What's the good of building up programs only to tear them down in a couple of years? We've seen this movie before, and it doesn't have a happy ending."
Senator Nielsen added, "I appreciate that the Governor is advocating fiscal restraint. This budget proposal, however, doesn't adequately address the structural deficit that continues to plague the state treasury. It also continues to fund the Governor's 'dream' of the High Speed Rail that California taxpayers don't want and can't afford.
"California's budget problems have not been erased by the financial windfall created by recent tax increases. We have a $350 billion 'wall of debt' that must be paid down so our economy can grow. Our state's economy is not recovering like the rest of the country. We must address the need to create more jobs for Californians who want to work."