We’ve gone over 60 days now without a state budget. On August 31st, Assembly Democrats rejected SB 873 (the Republican budget solution) introduced by Senator Hollingsworth. The legislature has to show the people of California that we are serious about drafting a fiscally responsible budget in which we refuse to spend more than what comes in. Our current budget shortfall has prompted us in the Legislature to identify our spending priorities and ensure they are sufficiently funded by incoming revenues. The Republican budget accomplishes this by maintaining last year’s levels of funding for vital responsibilities like education and public safety.We have to make the tough decisions now and that means we must finally confront our chronic spending problems, rather than reverting to increasing taxes, borrowing, or taking money from local counties and cities as in years past. The Republican budget reduces spending in areas such as welfare, health, and other social programs the state cannot presently afford. Some of the programs are managed by inefficient and wasteful bureaucracies, and are in desperate need of reform. Our reforms must make it easier to identify and provide for those most in need of a social safety net. These decisions have been tremendously difficult to make but we can no longer continue to pass the buck and ignore the unsustainable nature of our fiscal policy.
Because Californians are already among the highest taxed in the nation and because the voters soundly rejected the extension of tax increases passed in last year’s budget, the Republican budget does not raise taxes. Raising taxes in the midst of an economic recession is the worst thing that government can do. This budget forces the state to live within its means, without taking more from taxpayers. I understand drafting a final budget will not be easy but I look forward to working together with my colleagues to devise a meaningful solution to our budget crisis so that we can get California back on track.