After careful thought and sometimes-heartbreaking deliberation during the last several months, I am able to report that my legislative colleagues and I have voted [June 15] to adopt an on-time state budget. The plan closes the $20 billion structural deficit California faced just 18 months ago, turning it into a $2 billion surplus reserve by fiscal year 2015/2016.
It is important for every Californian, and everyone who does business with California, to know that we are living within our means, without gimmickry, and that our state is stable.
This is a responsible budget. State spending, as a percentage of personal income, is the lowest it has been in forty years. General Fund spending as a percentage of our economy is at its lowest level since Ronald Reagan was governor. Social services have been cut back to 1980’s levels. At the same time, this budget protects and invests in public education this year and in the future, increasing funding for schools by $17 billion over the next four years.
On the other hand, this budget also reflects cuts in every area of the budget and includes new cuts to our already battered safety net for the most vulnerable Californians – children, seniors, sick people, the poor and college students. We cannot continue to balance our state budget on cuts alone and new revenues are needed to eliminate our budget instability and to ensure that the basic services Californians need and value are not further jeopardized.
– Assemblymember Toni Atkins