Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount), Budget Committee Chair Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) and the Chairs of the five budget subcommittee met with the media today to discuss the Assembly budget plan... Read More
Asm. Jim Frazier wrote AB 935 to improve the lives of CA veterans. AB 935 allows veterans to apply for a CA driver’s license or ID card with a designation that clearly identifies them as veterans Read More
Urge Improvements to FCC, Will Launch Public Education Program, and Hearings
SACRAMENTO - In the wake of last week’s first-time use of the “Amber Alert” emergency system, Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles), Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal (D-Long Beach), and leaders from the Office of Emergency Services, California Highway Patrol, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children today urged Californians not to “opt out” of receiving emergency alerts on their cell phones.
“With less than half of Americans using landlines any more, cell notification is vital in times of natural disaster or other imminent threat,” said Speaker Pérez. “Californians need to know that by opting out of the system they could be trading a moment’s annoyance for the possibility of real harm to themselves and their families. In fact, opting out of the Wireless Emergency Alert System could actually be a matter of life and death.”
The Speaker said he will be contacting the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to urge improvement of the system. He said the agencies need to address some of the complaints raised about the first-time use of the system, including multiple messages, late messages, messages disappearing from mobile devices, and the alert lacking sufficient information or links to be helpful.
In addition, the Speaker and state officials said they will launch a public information campaign to increase awareness of the system among the state’s cell phone uses funded from cost savings in the Assembly’s budget. Assemblymembers also will kick off education campaigns in their districts, distributing information via their websites, mailings, and social media.
In addition to pursuing improvements at the federal level, the Assembly will convene a special hearing this fall to examine additional ways the Wireless Emergency Alert system can work better in California and ways the legislature can facilitate that happening.
“This system has the potential to save lives here in California and across the nation,” said Lowenthal, Vice Chair of the Joint Legislative Committee on Emergency Management. “Whether it’s a wildfire, earthquake, terrorist attack, or an Amber Alert, wireless emergency alerts may make all the difference. I hope Californians will embrace it.”
Also participating in today’s announcement were: Holly Crawford, Director of OES for San Diego County; Assistant Chief LD Maples of the California Highway Patrol; Peter White from ATT; and Robert Hoever, Director, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
SACRAMENTO - Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) released the following statement on the 48th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, and condemned the recent ruling by the US Supreme Court, which struck down a key provision of the 1965 legislation:
"Forty-eight years ago, when he introduced the Voting Rights Act, President Lyndon Johnson said, 'Every American citizen must have an equal right to vote. There is no reason which can excuse the denial of that right. There is no duty which weighs more heavily on us than the duty we have to ensure that right.'
Sadly, this summer, a majority of the U.S. Supreme Court was derelict in its duty to uphold that right.
Without the Voting Rights Act, and California is one of the states covered under the Act, I would not have been elected to office, let alone be part of a diverse caucus that came together to elect me as Speaker of the Assembly. Even with the Voting Rights Act, I was challenged at my polling place in the 2012 General Election, even though I was on the ballot itself.
As we mark today's anniversary, all Americans must continue to do our duty and fight for the restoration of a strong Voting Rights Act to ensure true and equal participation in our society for every American in our society.
With enough sustained pressure from the public and the press, I hope Congress can be convinced to remember the reasons why the Voting Rights Act is needed and to restore the teeth to this vital protection before the Voting Rights Act turns 50."
March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom 50th Anniversary August 28, 2013
On August 28, 1963, over 250,000 people descended the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to demand social justice and equality for all Americans. Known as the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, the march was the largest civil rights rally in American history and drew national attention to the Civil Rights Movement. It is often credited with influencing the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965. Numerous activists, religious leaders, politicians and citizens labored to organize the march, which required extensive planning. Among the speakers was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. whose “I Have a Dream” speech culminated the event and inspired millions to pursue social justice. The speech inspires civil rights leaders to this day and is cited as one of the greatest speeches in our nation’s history. In recognition of this historic day, the Smithsonian has produced an “Oral History of the March on Washington,” featuring photographs and interviews with some of the march’s organizers and attendees. Click here to read more.
"I Have A Dream"
by Martin Luther King, Jr.
Delivered on the steps at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. on August 28, 1963.
Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of captivity. But one hundred years later, we must face the tragic fact that the Negro is still not free.
One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land.
So we have come here today to dramatize an appalling condition. In a sense we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir.
This note was a promise that all men would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check which has come back marked "insufficient funds." But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation.
So we have come to cash this check -- a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to open the doors of opportunity to all of God's children. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood.
It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment and to underestimate the determination of the Negro. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights.
The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges. But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.
We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. we must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.
The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny and their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom.
We cannot walk alone. And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" we can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.
I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.
Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair. I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal." I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slaveowners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day the state of Alabama, whose governor's lips are presently dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, will be transformed into a situation where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers. I have a dream today. I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together. This is our hope. This is the faith with which I return to the South. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.
This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring." And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania! Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado! Let freedom ring from the curvaceous peaks of California! But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia! Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee! Let freedom ring from every hill and every molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.
When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"
SACRAMENTO - Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles), who authored legislation calling on Congress to prevent a doubling of student loan interest rates, today applauded the House of Representatives for joining the Senate in passing a bipartisan solution, but said the issue of college affordability is far from over.
"Today's vote prevents federal student loan rates from doubling, and that's a good thing," Pérez said, "but when student loan debt continues to exceed credit card debt in our country we still have a long way to go to keep college affordable."
In June, Speaker Pérez authored Assembly Joint Resolution 20, calling on Congress to prevent the student loan interest rates from doubling. It passed with overwhelming bipartisan support from the Assembly and state Senate.
Speaker Pérez is also the author of the Middle Class Scholarship, which will cut tuition at UC and CSUs by 40 percent for California families making under $100,000 a year and 10 percent for families making under $150,000. Under the Middle Class Scholarship, students attending a UC Campus will save up to $4,877 per year, while students attending a CSU Campus will save up to $2,198 per year.
WASHINGTON, D.C.— Fiscal responsibility and smart investment in jobs and business are helping put California on a path to prosperity following the Great Recession, Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) told the Golden State Roundtable in Washington, D.C. today.
In addressing the Roundtable, a non-partisan organization of people in business, government and academia who have an interest in California, Pérez cited last week’s report from the Center for the Continuing Study of the California Economy that California has now retaken the mantle of 8th largest economy in the world, based off the strong growth in the state’s GDP throughout 2012.
The study also showed that for most of the past decade, California’s economic growth has been consistent with the national average, but in the past year, our GDP has grown a full percentage point higher than the nation’s, and that we can expect California’s job growth to outpace the nation for the next decade.
“In California we have focused on getting our fiscal house in order and creating jobs and business,” Pérez said. “The reports that our economy is outperforming most states and our revenues are rebounding faster than all but one other state show that our efforts are working. California is clearly leading the nation’s recovery.”
In his remarks Speaker Pérez noted that in passing its most recent on-time balanced budget the California Legislature has paid down debt, made investments in education and moving parents into the workforce and helped restore the state’s credit rating.
Speaker Pérez also discussed the importance of the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, created in legislation authored by Pérez, which serves to attract new business and investment to California and to restore California’s overseas presence for the first time in nearly a decade.
Highlighting California’s investment in green manufacturing tax credits, Speaker Pérez pledged that California is committed to becoming home to one of the advanced manufacturing hubs President Obama has proposed.
Speaker Pérez is in Washington, D.C. this week for a series of meetings with key federal officials to discuss major issues facing California, including the state’s economic recovery, implementing health care reform, solving the student debt crisis and ensuring the state’s veterans are able to find jobs and access benefits and services.
The California State Society hosts the monthly Golden State Roundtables to facilitate discussion regarding California and national policy issues and to encourage communication and interaction among D.C. residents with California interests.
Below is the text of Speaker Pérez’s remarks, as prepared for delivery:
“Thank you. It’s always a pleasure to be back in Washington. In July.
I don’t know why I even bothered to bring a jacket with me. It’s about as useful as a simple majority in the Senate these days.
But it’s a genuine pleasure to be here today, and share with you what’s been going on in California. And for me, being here takes on an added significance, considering where things stood when I came before you one year ago.
Our financial future was by no means certain. We had a million fewer Californians working. Students faced the prospect of yet another major hike in their tuition. Schools were bracing for billions of dollars in cuts. Police and firefighters rushing to emergencies still wondered if their heroic duties would end with a pink slip in their paycheck. And Middle Class Californians in every part of our state questioned whether California would keep the promise of opportunity alive, and the California Dream available, for all our citizens.
But when I came before you, I didn’t say California was doomed. I quoted one of the most iconic figures of our history: “the reports of our demise are greatly exaggerated.” Today, I can tell you that those reports weren’t just wrong. They were “Dewey Defeats Truman” wrong.
Not only have we recovered, we’re leading the recovery. Last Friday the Center for the Continuing Study of the California Economy reported that once again, California’s economy is ranked eighth globally. Not only that, our economy is growing faster than 44 of our sister states. And our revenues have rebounded better than all but one, as a Center for Tax Policy study showed that same week.
Most tellingly of all: Our GDP has grown a full percentage point higher than the country’s. And job creation in California is set to outpace the rest of the nation for the next decade. Not just because tourists come to California to be awed by some of the greatest natural wonders on this earth. And not just because California still entertains the world. Those factors are certainly important, employing millions of Californians and being among the most resilient industries throughout the recession. But prosperity is on the horizon because California’s technology industry is expanding, pushing boundaries, innovating new solutions and leading the way forward.
All throughout the economic crisis and recession, we knew that rebuilding would be a long process. But we also knew that our efforts to rebuild must be focused on laying a solid foundation for the industries of the 21st century to truly emerge and come into their own, as Tesla is doing now, and as Google and Qualcomm did before them.
And when you look at what the Legislature and the Governor have done together, you can see that commitment is absolutely clear. We’ve balanced our budget. They days of Greco-Californian comparisons are over. We’ve reformed our regulations. A regulation that doesn’t reflect the world we live in is a drag on our economy, and the business that has to comply with it. We’re putting our dollars in the classrooms that need it the most, and we’ve knocked thousands of dollars of the cost of higher education for middle class students and families. We’ve focused our efforts on those areas that will restore prosperity—and with it, opportunity—to every Californian.
You see that focus most clearly in our establishment of the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, or GoBiz for short. I wrote the law creating GoBiz, and we are already seeing good results. GoBiz is charged with serving as a clearinghouse to attract new business and investment to California.
It has put forward policies to help remove barriers to business expansion, and is reestablishing California’s overseas presence locating offices within some of our most important trading partners. The first office was recently opened in China, and we anticipate a second office in that nation, as well as an office in Mexico and Korea to eventually be established. These trade offices will fill a critical vacuum, attract new investments into our state, and ultimately create jobs for Californians.
GoBiz, along with policies like green manufacturing tax credits, are helping to drive California’s recovery. And GoBiz will be aggressive in fighting to ensure that California is home to one of the advanced manufacturing hubs the President is proposing to create in his budget. We want that hub, and we know it belongs in California.
GoBiz is one of our most important long-term policy initiatives. And that’s because we understand that California must be proactive in growing our economy. Not just for the next fiscal quarter, but for the next quarter of a century and beyond.
And that work begins with our budget. The budget is an expression of our values, and our blueprint for the future.
You see that clearly in the actions the voters have taken themselves. They eliminated a constitutional roadblock to progress by eliminating the supermajority requirement to pass a budget. They elected a Governor and a Legislature that are committed to rebuilding for the future, and unafraid of governing. They stood with us as we made every tough decision that was necessary. And then they showed their commitment to protecting education and public safety by approving temporary new revenues.
The results have been clear. Our deficit is gone. Surpluses are on the horizon. Our budgets are being passed on time. Three years in a row—for the first time in 30 years.
Our credit rating is up while the federal government’s is down. Billions more in borrowing costs for the US Treasury, while our smart fiscal policies have driven down borrowing costs in California by nearly half a billion dollars.
Our first principle of budgeting has been fiscal responsibility. The budget we passed has a strong reserve of more than a billion dollars. And I am leading my colleagues in an effort to put a genuine rainy day fund…one that truly protects us when the road ahead becomes harder. And one that puts the days of boom and bust in our budget permanently to rest.
That effort reflects our commitment to ensuring stability in California’s finances. But it is with respect to what our budget says about education that you most clearly see our vision for the future.
We started by paying back billions of dollars of IOU’s to California’s schools. We continued by reforming classroom funding, by increasing the base for the vast majority of California’s school districts—but more importantly, by investing additional resources in the schools where it will do the most good. Schools with a high proportion of English language learners…schools in low income areas…schools where an investment in opportunity today yields an outsized return tomorrow.
But of all the work we have done…of all the moments I have been privileged to serve as Speaker, none rank more highly for me than when I joined the Governor as he signed my Middle Class Scholarship into law.
Over the last ten years, student fees have more than doubled. Where once in California, middle class families could easily write a check to pay for the education their child has earned, today writing those checks…for 12,000 in tuition…thousands more in text books…and housing…is an impossible burden on middle class families.
Just a few weeks ago, the work of thousands of students who came to the Capitol…the voices of thousands of students and parents who signed a petition at campuses and PTA meetings across the state…the folks who fought so hard with me to make the Middle Class Scholarship a reality saw their work culminate in Governor Brown’s signature go on the law they fought for.
And for middle class California families, that signature is worth thousands of dollars in savings each year. Any family earning less than $150,000 per year will see a reduction of up to 40 percent. The Middle Class Scholarship relieves a burden for middle class families, and restores opportunity for middle class students.
Fifty-three years ago, Gov. Pat Brown made a promise for an affordable and accessible college education for every student who worked hard to earn it when he signed the Master Plan for Higher Education into law. And it’s fitting that it was Governor Jerry Brown who renewed that commitment when he signed the Middle Class Scholarship into law.
In both instances, we demonstrated our commitment to investing in our future, in putting forward the policies that will nurture the next groundbreaking revolution in how our world works. Every iPhone app, every Tesla rolling off the assembly line, every Google search is a testament to the transformative nature of our commitment to higher education… a commitment that unleashes the transformative potential of everyday Californians.
Opportunity is essential for the Middle Class. And opportunity is the birthright of every Californian. And we take most seriously our commitment to opportunity for our veterans.
The Californians who are returning from Iraq and Afghanistan…the Californians who returned from the Persian Gulf, Vietnam and Korea before them…the Californians who have defended our country deserve nothing but our very best.
That is not our duty as policy makers. It’s our basic obligation as citizens. And that is an obligation my colleagues and I in the Assembly have taken to heart. Veterans need jobs. And our budget created an office dedicated to veterans in our state Labor Agency.
Veterans need housing, and I have introduced legislation to ask the voters to repurpose previously approved funding that isn’t being used to construct the homes for homeless veterans, and affordable housing for veterans and their families who need it.
Veterans have different physical and mental health needs than the average Californian, and we’ve funded strike teams to go into the three VA offices in California and connect veterans with state services and federal benefits.
And most importantly, veterans need to be able to find jobs, and need to have the well-being to do their jobs well. The California Assembly has taken that obligation to heart. We have cut our own operating budget so that we can free up scarce dollars to fund programs for veterans. From the counseling services they need, to the job training and placement assistance they deserve, the Assembly’s contributions have helped fund crucial programs for veterans.
That includes the money we gave to the California National Guard to fund their Work for Warriors Program. Work for Warriors helps connects guard members who are looking for full time employment with more than 100 of California’s leading employers in the private and public sector. And I want to take a moment for those of you who represent some of California’s major employers—Work for Warriors is a phenomenal program, and you should invest in its success.
Right now, they are averaging three job placements a day. Three new members of the work force who are each strengthening our recovery. And where the average federal job placement program for veterans costs $10,000 per placement, Work for Warriors spends $500.
Work for Warriors is a program founded on our obligation to honor the service of our veterans, but more importantly, guided by our commitment to making smart investments in our future while holding the line on fiscal responsibility every day.
And as Californians, each of us is proud of the fact that our state is leading the way on the national recovery. That we are the golden foundation for a prosperous future. We know that future will be secured by fighting for opportunity…opportunity for businesses to expand and opportunity for Californians to unleash their potential.
As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “America is another name for opportunity.”
Opportunity has been synonymous with the California Dream since those first days when James Marshall looked into a creek bed and saw gold. From that moment, California has been known throughout the world as a place where everyone, no matter who they are or what their background, can have the opportunities to succeed in life. And every successive generation of Californians has lived up to the obligation by reaffirming its commitment to opportunity.
I firmly believe 2013 is the year where this generation has taken the first steps of reaffirming that obligation as well.
The reports of our demise weren’t exaggerated. They were outright false. California is leading the way back.
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.”
“It appears the University of California is moving in the right direction to enroll more California students—and that’s great news. When the Assembly conducted our in-depth review of the University of California this year, it was clear that the university can and should do a better job fulfilling its mission to educate California students. That’s why we included an additional $25 million for UC if it enrolls 5,000 more Californians.”
“By expanding public restroom accommodations, people with physical disabilities and their families and friends are given the dignity and comfort to go about their daily lives. These rudimentary human necessities are imperative for the health and well-being of our disabled community.”
“This bill brings California’s election recount process into the 21st century. Elections are a fundamental democratic principle and we must make every effort to ensure their integrity. I believe AB 44, will do just that.”
“I remember the challenges that I had when I was a new mother myself. As a mother I could not imagine what life would be like to not have the opportunity to care and nurture for my own child. It is only right that we give foster youth who are parents the ability to care for their child while maintaining the principals of keeping families together.”
As Chair of the Assembly Higher Education Committee, I know the importance of college affordability and safety. We must ensure students are provided with safe learning environments. In addition, students need transparency in higher education costs in order to make informed financial decisions for college."
"We know that students in foster care are more likely to achieve their full potential when they are provided services designed to meet their particular needs. It's imperative that foster youth get the support and resources they need to succeed academically."