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California budget highest ever passed

Assemblyman Scott Wilk and state Sen. Steve Knight weigh in on spendi

Posted: June 17, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: June 17, 2014 2:00 a.m.

Santa Clarita Valley legislators mostly split along party lines Monday in reviewing the state’s new $108 billion budget for the coming fiscal year, the highest spending plan ever passed for the Golden State.

“The budget regrettably sets the state up for significant future spending obligations, such as the proposal to increase welfare grants by 5 percent,” said Assemblyman Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, in a prepared statement.

Wilk says the budget proves Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown, who largely crafted the spending plan, and his fellow Democrats in the Legislature “have not learned their lesson when it comes to overspending.”

“When budgeting for a state of 38 million people, no one — myself included — will be completely satisfied,” said Democratic Sen. Fran Pavley, whose district takes in part of the Santa Clarita Valley. “But on the whole the Legislature has passed a responsible, on-time budget that balances the need to pay down debt and save for a rainy day with re-investment in areas such as education, health care and the court system.”

“I will give this the highest grade since I’ve been up here,” state Sen. Steve Knight, R-Palmdale, said in a phone interview Monday. It’s the sixth budget Knight has voted on in the Legislature.

Still, he said, he was one of the 11 senators who voted against the proposal, approved at the last minute to meet a looming deadline.

“There are some very good things in the budget,” Knight said, “but some not so good.” He said the budget spends too much and sets aside too little in the state’s so-called “rainy-day fund” to buffer it next time the economy takes a downturn.

Other specific objections Knight had to the budget included CalFresh, the state’s food stamps program, being made available to convicted drug felons.

“The drug felon typically has used those types of things as payment for drugs,” he said. “It’s just not a good precedent.”

He said increased health care payments did not go where they’re most needed. “We should be increasing payments to health care for kids, health care for the elderly.”

Both he and Wilk criticized the state for linking restrictions on public school district reserves with a plan to more quickly pay back school districts money the state owes them. Wilk said the cap on reserves could push some districts into bankruptcy.

Wilk also had a beef with the new budget’s spending on higher education. The budget calls for a boost of $50 million for both the University of California and California State University systems if the state receives more money from property taxes than expected, plus $100 million for deferred maintenance projects.

But Wilk said Brown “did not fulfill his promise to use Proposition 30 to fund public education, which California voters approved.”

“In addition to the Prop. 30 letdown, the budget rejects a bipartisan request to increase funding for the California State University by $95 million,” Wilk said.

Funding for the state’s proposed high-speed bullet train also came in for criticism.

“The budget takes $250 million from Cap and Trade to fund high-speed rail. It also makes it an ongoing appropriation, taking away the Legislature’s right to appropriate and conduct oversight,” Wilk said.

Still, Knight said he found much to like in the plan.

Among other things, it restores some spending to regional centers that provide aid to developmentally disabled people and parents with children who have special needs.

“If we’re not going to help the folks who need the help most, we’ve kind of put ourselves in a box,” he said.

“Government has a role in society, and the role is that we use the tax dollars to provide services like schools, roads and prisons — and for services that are needed in our communities.”


TruthSquad: Posted: June 17, 2014 7:01 a.m.

I agree with Senator Knight and Assemblyman Wilk that the budget contains too much savings and too little in savings.

NotSoAwesomeTown: Posted: June 17, 2014 8:44 a.m.

Yes, let's give food stamps to convicted drug felons. After all, they shouldn't have to support themselves. We should support them since we had the audacity to incarcerate them in the first place.

We need to demand a down-to-the-penny accounting of every dime generated by Prop 30.

scvsoccermom82: Posted: June 17, 2014 9:10 a.m.

Thanks for sharing Wilk and Knight! I agree that the cap on reserves could push some districts into bankruptcy. Scary because the schools desperately need the funds.

listenup: Posted: June 17, 2014 9:14 a.m.

Scott Wilk is spot on. Capping school district reserves, the bullet train, and welfare increases. Liberals have not learned their lesson.

politicsrock: Posted: June 17, 2014 9:22 a.m.

Senator Knight and Assemblyman Wilk are correct-- we MUST be taking the Rainy Day Fund more seriously. In a state this large, it is completely erroneous that our Democratic leaders STILL don't understand the need to save for future economic hardship. I agree that the Democrats have not learned their lesson.

valleygirl85: Posted: June 17, 2014 9:28 a.m.

I wish I could tax people more if I wanted to spend some money! When will Sacramento practice responsible budgeting like the people they claim to represent. At least there are a few sane people up there! Keep up the good work Scott and Steve!

newsreader1965: Posted: June 17, 2014 9:48 a.m.

The way that I have read the information the cap of 6% on the districts only takes place if the rainy day fund is in place. There is no need for two rainy day funds and the money sent to the districts is for the kids that are there not the ones that might be there in the future. State funding for schools has been volatile in the past and the rainy day fund should make sure that it is steady. No school district needs to have surpluses that are in the 20% to 30% range if the state can make sure that the state funding is steady. Lets spend the money sent to us each year on the kids that are in the classroom that year. I would like to see the kids get the education they deserve and have class size get down to where kids feel that they can get help and ask the questions that they have. I have kids in the Newhall school district and will have kids in the Wm. S. Hart Union School District and I want them to have the experience that they deserve. --edited.

Unreal: Posted: June 17, 2014 11:01 a.m.

If people are caught using their EBT card to buy drugs take it away and charge them. But you should not lump everyone together an say nobody who has had an issue with drugs in the past ever gets help.

I think that someone who has had a conviction for drug use in the past may have a harder time finding a job once out of jail. They may need some help to be able to eat. do we want them to starve (I know some of you do)while trying to find work or stealing to buy food?

Once they have "paid their fine to society" they should be able to access help like everyone else.

That said, I think that too many people in general are taking advantage of these programs and need to have some sense of pride in not taking handouts if not needed. --edited.

Unreal: Posted: June 17, 2014 11:28 a.m.

I would rather see more money going to the Animal Shelters in California.

At the Castaic shelter there are about 20 kittens and about 10 older cats (older cats can make the best pets) hoping for a new home instead of being killed.

Open your heart and home if you can. Below is the link to the local Castaic shelter and you can see the faces of all the kitties there.

lars1: Posted: June 17, 2014 1:30 p.m.

Soon all Californians will not be able to fly if they use their California Drivers License. It will no longer be recognized by the FAA.

With the chloride tax scam approved, it looks like I will apply for government assistance.

peoplesvoice: Posted: June 17, 2014 3:41 p.m.

This state is out of control with the things they choose to fund! All this budget is going to do is put us in even more trouble! I wish there were more people like Wilk and Knight up there!!!!

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