News that the proposed California State budget for fiscal year 2013-14 is balanced has prompted responses from local leaders, generally saying they agree with Gov. Jerry Brown’s “restraint.”
Brown unveiled next year’s state budget today, and according to the Sacramento Bee the governor’s $97 billion proposal has a $1 billion reserve. The fiscal accountability prompted the governor to declare the state budget deficit has disappeared for the first time since the recession began.
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Much of the governor's statement today focused on education spending prompted by November's passage of Prop. 30.
In a released statement today, Murrieta's state Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez, R-Lake Elsinore, said she agrees with the governor’s call for spending restraint, and she too addressed education by calling for protection against college tuition hikes across the state.
“Setting a budget is about setting priorities. As the mother of five children and a small business owner, I know how important it is to not stray outside of a budget. At the top of those priorities are our students and higher education. That’s why I am joining my Republican colleagues in taking action to protect students from astronomical tuition rate hikes and over burdensome debt. It’s time California’s taxpayers expect more from its government,” Melendez said.
The assemblywoman said one of her most important budget priorities is ensuring that the Legislature upholds its promise to voters by making education funding an important priority.
Melendez announced she has co-authored Assembly Bill 67 (Gorell), which would provide a seven-year tuition freeze at the state’s public colleges and universities while the Proposition 30 taxes are in effect, and use this money to increase higher education funding.
During her run for the assembly seat last year, Melendez was not as vocal about her support on capping higher education costs.
“I’m still paying for my master’s degree,” she continued.
Democrats have long opposed the increasing costs of higher education, and Melendez maintained throughout her campaign that she would reach across the aisle.
In today's released statement, the assemblywoman continued that theme: “Being a member of the Budget Committee I am ready to start working with the governor and Democrats in an open and transparent way to help solve our statewide problems."
For his part, California Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson reacted to the governor's proposal with the following statement:
"The governor's budget proposal keeps the promise we made to Californians who supported Proposition 30, and wisely begins to restore some of what our schools have lost. It will take years to bring our education system back to financial health, and I applaud the governor for beginning that work in earnest.
"I do believe, however, that early education programs—cut deeply in recent years—deserve to share in this recovery as well. They are among our best investments in the future of California's children.
"I look forward to working with our community college partners regarding the future of adult education. I am concerned that severing the longstanding ties these programs have with K-12 districts could diminish access to classes that play a vital role in helping Californians receive the basic education they need to become productive citizens.
"I admire the governor's determination to move forward with an overhaul of California's confusing system of school finance, and I share his desire to direct more help to students and schools with the greatest needs. At the same time, I remain concerned about the fragile fiscal state of so many school districts and preserving state priorities. I look forward to examining details of the governor's proposal and working closely with the education community throughout this challenging process."
View the entire budget proposal on the state financial office's website here.