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SACRAMENTO – Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) released the following statement on passing a balanced and on-time state budget:
“For the third year in a row, the Assembly has approved a balanced, on-time budget. Over the past three years, the work we have done has eliminated our structural deficit, balanced our books and increased our credit rating.
The budget we have adopted today builds on that tremendous progress using the principles we outlined in the Blueprint for a Responsible budget: maintaining fiscal responsibility, strengthening the middle class and making government services more efficient and effective.
We make crucial investments in the middle class, namely by repaying schools $2 billion in deferrals from previous years and by establishing the middle class scholarship to cut student fees by up to 40 percent at UCs and CSUs. And we take action to remove significant barriers to small business expansion and hiring.
We expand healthcare coverage for more than one million Californians, and approve a new funding formula to put more money in the schools that need it most.
This is a budget that reflects our principles of fiscal responsibility and opportunity for the middle class. It reflects the values of the people of California and the urgent challenges facing our state. I am grateful to my colleagues--especially Budget Chair Blumenfield, the Budget Sub Committee Chairs and our Assembly Conferees for their hard work in crafting a budget worthy of the people of California.”
Speaker John A. Pérez Statement on Passing On-Time, Balanced California Budget
(Sacramento) – Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) released the following statement on passing a balanced and on-time state budget:
“For the third year in a row, the Assembly has approved a balanced, on-time budget. Over the past three years, the work we have done has eliminated our structural deficit, balanced our books and increased our credit rating. The budget we have adopted today builds on that tremendous progress using the principles we outlined in the Blueprint for a Responsible budget: maintaining fiscal responsibility, strengthening the middle class and making government services more efficient and effective. We make crucial investments in the middle class, namely by repaying schools $2 billion in deferrals from previous years and by establishing the middle class scholarship to cut student fees by up to 40 percent at UCs and CSUs. And we take action to remove significant barriers to small business expansion and hiring.We expand healthcare coverage for more than one million Californians, and approve a new funding formula to put more money in the schools that need it most. This is a budget that reflects our principles of fiscal responsibility and opportunity for the middle class. It reflects the values of the people of California and the urgent challenges facing our state. I am grateful to my colleagues--especially Budget Chair Blumenfield, the Budget Sub Committee Chairs and our Assembly Conferees for their hard work in crafting a budget worthy of the people of California.”
Below is audio of Speaker Pérez's remarks on the main budget bill (4:41): mp3
SACRAMENTO—The implementation of the Affordable Care Act took a crucial step forward today after the Senate Health Committee passed Assembly Bill 1X-1, authored by Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) with a vote of 7 – 2. This legislation is expected to expand Medi-Cal eligibility to over 1 million low-income and uninsured Californians.
“With this bill we will help ensure California remains the nation’s leader in health care reform, and provide more Californians with access to affordable, quality health care,” Speaker Pérez said. “AB1X-1 is an important vehicle for California to fully partner with the federal government to expand health coverage to our lowest-income Californians.”
In addition to expanding eligibility, AB 1X-1 also streamlines the eligibility and enrollment rules for Medi-Cal, creating new efficiencies and speeding the time by which applicants can receive coverage. The federal government will fund the health coverage expansion provided in the bill for the first three years and will continue to cover eventually 90 percent of the cost through President Obama’s Affordable Care Act.
California has been a leader in the nation for implementing healthcare reform since the legislation was first passed by Congress. In 2010, Speaker Pérez authored legislation creating California’s first-in-the-nation Health Benefits Exchange, a key provision of the ACA.
The next step for AB 1X-1 is the Senate Appropriations Committee.
SACRAMENTO—Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) released the following statement regarding the Joint Budget Conference Committee agreeing on a budget plan for the state:
“The Budget Conference Committee’s actions last night put us on track to complete our third on-time, balanced budget in a row. The budget the Legislature will adopt by our Constitutional deadline reflects the core priorities laid out in the Assembly Blueprint for a Responsible Budget: continuing fiscal responsibility, strengthening the middle class and making government services more efficient and effective. I am particularly pleased the budget will take action on one of the most crucial issues facing our long-term recovery by making college more affordable with the Middle Class Scholarship Act.”
Audio remarks from Speaker Pérez at today’s budget news conference (2:39)
The following information shows how the agreement reflects the principles of the Blueprint for a Responsible Budget.
Conference Agreement Follows Assembly Democrats’ Blueprint for a Responsible Budget
Prior to the release of the May Revision, Speaker John A. Pérez announced the Assembly Democrats’ Blueprint for a Responsible Budget – based on the principles of: Continuing Fiscal Responsibility; Strengthening the Middle Class; and Delivering Effective Efficient Services.
The Budget crafted by the Conference Committee to be voted on prior to June 15th meets each of these three key principles.
Continuing Fiscal Responsibility:
Balanced Budget.The budget is balanced, with a reserve of $1.1 billion and is structurally balanced throughout the entire forecast period.
Pays Down Debt. The budget pays down $4.2 billion in budget debt, including over $2.1 billion in deferrals to schools.
Cautious Revenue Estimate. The budget is based on the Department of Finance General Fund revenue projections, rather than the Legislative Analyst’s modestly more optimistic forecast.
Sets Stage For Rainy Day Fund. With maintaining budget stability, the stage is set for crafting a workable Rainy Day Fund for the November 2014 ballot that captures spiking capital gain revenues to protect against economic downturns.
Strengthening the Middle Class:
Additional Funding for Schools. The budget provides billions in new investments for schools, including a funding formula to target resources to low income students and English learners. The final agreement on the funding formula meets all four conditions set by the Blueprint for a Responsible Budget, including:
Increases funding for early care & preschool programs (over $100 million) and a CalWORKs Child Poverty Adjustment grant increase as a first step in ensuring low income children have a real chance at educational success in the classroom.
Ensures all schools benefit from the increased revenues and economic recovery by altering the Governor’s formula proposal to provide higher base grants and to ensure every school district has their funding restored to at least their pre-recession levels.
Benefits all low income and English learner students throughout the state, not just those in high concentration areas by targeting funds to all qualified students and ensuring districts target the funds toward these students with accountability measures.
Provides smart use of one-time Prop 98 funds by repaying over $2 billion in Prop 98 deferrals and by providing $1.25 billion for Common Core State Standards transition costs.
Increased Funding and Access to Higher Education. The budget provides significant new investments for Higher Education and makes college more affordable for the middle class, with the following:
Increases funding for UC and CSU of $250 million, this increase will grow to over $1 billion by 2016-17.
Begins the Middle Class Scholarship for the 2014-15 school year to slash student fees by up to 40% for families making under $100,000 and up to 10% for families earning $150,000. Therefore, once fully implemented, the Scholarship will phase down to 10% for families earning between $100,000 and $150,000 (i.e. family income of $100,000 – 40% scholarship; income of $125,000 – 25% scholarship; family earning $150,000 – 10% scholarship.)
Improved Programs for Families Striving for the Middle Class. The budget makes meaningful progress in improving programs that help families striving for the middle class, including:
Increases investments in welfare-to-work programs including family stabilization and subsidized employment.
Doubles the value of a vehicle a CalWORKs recipient can own in order to receive benefits, this is a key change necessary to ensure families retain their car – often the key to being able to get back to work.
Reestablishes a modified Adult Dental program to provide dental services that are necessary for the health and social wellbeing of individuals needing to have bigger participation in the economy.
Expands Medi-Cal to 138% of federal poverty to provide access to healthcare for the working poor. In addition to the expansion, the budget provides a greater level of services than originally proposed by the Governor and ensures immigrant parents can remain in the same program as their children.
Delivering Effective, Efficient Services for Californians:
Cuts Business Filings Processing to Five Days. The budget follows through on the Assembly’s action in the Spring to permanently cut the processing time for the Secretary of State to process business filings from over 60 days to no more than five days.
Updates Local Coastal Plans. The budget provides $4 million for Local Coastal Plans to be updated to streamline and improve coastal zone changes in accordance with the Coastal Act.
Improves Services for Veterans. The budget provides $3 million for state staff to assist the federal government in processing disability claims of California veterans, and $3 million for County Veteran Service Officers to outreach to veterans to provide eligible services.
Increased Funding for Courts. The budget provides a modest increase of $63 million for Courts, as a first step in establishing an adequate funding level. The increased funds come with accountability measures ensuring funds are spent protecting services and to ensure public access to key judicial branch administrative decisions.
LOS ANGELES—For the first time, a delegation from the California National Guard, led by its Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. David S. Baldwin, took part in L.A. Pride, joining Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles), the first openly gay person elected to lead a state house, in today’s Pride Parade.
The California National Guard also had its first-ever recruiting booth at the Pride Festival following the parade. Several of the Guardsmen marching alongside Speaker Pérez and Maj. Gen. Baldwin are gay, and were marching openly for the first time as members of the Armed Forces.
“The overwhelmingly positive response to the California National Guard from Pride participants today was matched only by the respect and enthusiasm the Guard showed toward our community,” Speaker Pérez said. “Today makes it absolutely clear the Guard is committed to including and reflecting all the people they serve.”
“We are a performance-based force, and one's sexual orientation shouldn't affect their ability to serve and excel,” said Maj. Gen. Baldwin. “Duty to one's state and nation - not sexual orientation - is the defining trait of our soldiers and airmen.”
Two military vehicles, including a National Guard Humvee, and a banner that reads “The California National Guard-Yes! We Really do Want You!” were part of the contingent.
In addition to L.A. Pride, the California National Guard will also have a recruiting presence at other Pride events in the state, including Sacramento, San Francisco, San Diego, and San Jose, with other locations pending.
Speaker Pérez has worked closely with the California National Guard on a number of issues. Last year, he helped launch the Cal Guard's Work for Warriors Program that finds jobs for returning combat veterans, in addition to helping California veterans statewide obtain the services they need and the benefits they have earned.
SACRAMENTO – Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) released the following statement regarding the FBI investigation at the State Capitol yesterday:
“The entire Capitol community should take any investigation seriously and cooperate fully, and the Assembly will do just that. We also all have to focus on the work before us. We will continue working with our Senate colleagues to pass the budget and proceed with the people’s business.”
Keep California Moving – Fix the Roads Roundtable (Fresno)
Speaker Atkins Joins Business, Labor and Local Leaders to Keep California Moving
Assembly Speaker Toni G. Atkins discussing California’s transportation issues at Fresno press conference.
FRESNO—Assembly Speaker Toni G. Atkins and a large coalition of local government officials, business leaders and transportation advocates today provided an update on the Legislature’s special session on transportation infrastructure. They emphasized the reasons why new infrastructure funding is vital to keep California moving.
“The Central Valley is vital to California’s economy, and fixing our infrastructure is vital to the Central Valley,” said Speaker Atkins (D-San Diego). “Many Valley communities and businesses are dependent on the lifelines provided by Highway 99 and Highway 5. They need to be kept in good shape. That’s why we are working closely with the state’s local elected officials and business community to ensure we can enact real solutions to the state’s transportation problems in this special session of the Legislature.”
“It’s fundamental that California be able to move goods and people in a modern, efficient way,” said Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., who called for a special session on transportation funding in June. “The problem is clear and we’re going to find the right path forward. The potholes don’t wait, the congestion doesn’t wait.”
A study by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute found that peak-commute drivers in Fresno waste 23 hours a year sitting in traffic, resulting in an estimated cost of $495 per driver. More than 75% of motorists in Fresno County drive their own cars instead of taking public transportation, and that takes a heavy toll on the roads.
“Some of the roads in Stanislaus County are literally crumbling under my tires, and the Seventh Street Bridge in Modesto needs basic maintenance so badly it is no longer safe for heavy trucks and busses,” said Vito Chiesa, president of the California State Association of Counties and a Stanislaus County supervisor. “Reforms and accountability measures are needed to ensure taxpayer dollars are going toward transportation, but it is an indisputable fact that we need new revenues to address the severe maintenance backlog of our local streets and roads. I urge lawmakers from both sides of the aisle in Sacramento to find a workable solution. The longer we wait, the more it’s going to cost when we do finally fix our roads.”
Fixing all our roads now would cost more than $100 billion, but waiting 10 years would push the cost to nearly $300 billion. Every dollar invested in transportation infrastructure produces $5.20 in economic benefit, and every $1 billion that gets spent on transportation infrastructure leads to roughly 18,000 jobs.
Darius Assemi, Granville Homes President and CEO and California Transportation Commission Commissioner, added, “We need more revenue along with reforms to ensure Californians’ tax dollars are spent wisely, and solely used for transportation purposes to fix our deteriorating roads.”
Transportation funding has not kept pace with the state’s aging infrastructure. Most of the funding comes from gasoline excise taxes, which have not kept up with inflation. California collects 30 cents per gallon, a value that hasn’t increased in 25 years and, in fact, decreased by 6 cents in July. This means that the purchasing power of today’s excise tax is at an all-time low. Increased fuel-efficiency standards allow cars to travel more miles with less gas, also generating fewer gas-tax dollars to fix the roads.
According to multiple studies in recent years, California faces numerous transportation problems:
California has the second-highest share of roads in “poor condition” in the nation. More than half of our state roads need rehabilitation or pavement maintenance.
Our state has six of the 10 cities with the worst road conditions in the nation.
Nearly 1/3 of our bridges and overpasses show signs of deterioration, or do not meet design standards.
Nearly 70% of California’s urban roads and highways are congested.
Statement from Assembly Speaker Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego)
“The Governor’s signature is the next step for a prudent and progressive budget that will make California a better place to live, work and play. We are sending more money to schools, helping working families by expanding child care and preschool and establishing a state Earned Income Tax Credit, and we improve higher education funding and financial aid. The budget the Governor signed today makes important investments and pays down debt while adding to state reserves. It is not only a reflection of our state’s economic health, but a plan that will continue to help build California’s fiscal fitness.
“While the budget signed today is clearly the best one we’ve had in years, there is more work to do on Medi-Cal, DDS and infrastructure. Today, I will be appointing the members of the Assembly committees for the special sessions that have been called on health care and infrastructure. Those committees will take the lead in resolving the important issues still before us.”
Assemblymember Susan Bonilla, District 14
"The over 280,000 Californians who are our friends, family and community members should no longer endure being stripped of vital resources such as transportation, respite care, along with independent and supported living programs. These services are not only cost-saving to the state, but most importantly they are essential to the health and well-being of our developmentally disabled community."
Assemblymember Susan Eggman, District 13
"This issue is of immense importance to all Californians, and I was confident that the full Assembly, reflective of and responsive to the people it represents, would do the right thing and move us closer to making it possible for terminally-ill Californians to decide for themselves how to manage their last days.
Assemblymember Luis Alejo, District 30
"It is important that students build knowledge of the various racial and ethnic groups in our state. Assembly Bill 101 is the vehicle to make that a reality, cultural diversity is inherent to the development of human and civil rights, and Ethnic Studies enhances student achievement as an essential component of a culturally diverse education."
Assemblymember Chris Holden, District 41
"In our high-tech economy, a college degree will no longer be an option; it will be a requirement for jobs of the future. Concurrent enrollment opens doors of opportunity for students who might never have thought it possible to go to college."
Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia, District 56
"Our disadvantaged communities continue to be disproportionately burdened by traffic congestion, poor air quality, obesity due to physical inactivity, and other negative impacts of our transportation system—and my bill seeks to remedy that."
Assemblymember Patrick O'Donnell, District 70
"LGBTQ youth are up to four times more likely to attempt suicide and suffer significantly higher dropout rates than their straight peers. Giving teachers the tools they need to foster a supportive learning experience will improve academic achievement and make our schools safer for LGBTQ students."