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
Whether it's mudslides and flash floods induced by El Nino rains washing over drought parched California, wild fires or an earthquake, being prepared for an emergency disaster can make all the difference to you and your family Read More
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.”
SACRAMENTO – In this week’s Democratic Address, Assemblymember Bob Blumenfield (D-San Fernando Valley), Chair of the Assembly Budget Committee, discusses the Assembly adoption of a spending plan that reflects the principles of the Blueprint for a Responsible Budget (www.asmdc.org/budget-blueprint). The Assembly Budget improves fiscal responsibility, strengthens the middle class and small businesses, and makes vital services more effective and efficient. The plan pays down $4.7 billion in state debts, includes reserves and set-asides totaling twice the amount in the governor’s proposal, and invests in education – including a new Middle Class Scholarship that will cut tuition costs at California universities by 40 percent. For more information, please see this Assembly Access video.
California has the largest veteran population in the nation, with 1.9 million, which is expected to rise when the wars in the Iraq and Afghanistan come to an end.
“Hello, this is Assemblymember Bob Blumenfield, Chair of the Assembly Budget Committee and representative of the San Fernando Valley with an update about the state budget.
This week, the Assembly adopted a budget plan to govern responsibly. My committee’s approval of a spending plan concluded a series of 61 hearings over the past five months, which gathered input from thousands of Californians across the state.
Our Assembly Budget Plan is shaped by a commitment to fiscal responsibility, to strengthening our middle class, and to delivering government services more effectively and efficiently.
After cutting over $50 billion from the budget in recent years, we know that we must be prudent to avoid falling back into the financial hole that took years of painful sacrifice to exit. This is why our Assembly Budget Plan is balanced multiple years into the future.
It also pays down $4.7 billion in state debts and includes budget reserves and set-asides totaling twice the amount in the governor’s proposal. Furthermore, our budget plan will be paired with a genuine rainy day fund for voters to consider on the 2014 General Election ballot.
Looking across California, we see that our economy is growing, job opportunities are increasing, and our housing market is improving. But these gains are not shared among our citizens. That is why the Assembly Budget Plan makes targeted investments to strengthen California’s middle class.
Our budget prioritizes new investments in K-12 education, fulfilling the promise to the voters who approved the governor’s tax initiative last November.
Our budget creates a new scholarship that cuts tuition by 40% at our public universities for students whose parents earn $150,000 or less. After years of jaw-dropping fee increases, the Middle Class Scholarship will provide much needed and long overdue relief.
And, with many of our fellow citizens still out of work, our budget revitalizes key welfare-to-work programs so that people can land a job, pay their own way, and provide for their children.
California’s finances have stabilized and are improving. But there is always room for improvement. That is why the Assembly Budget aims to deliver more effective and efficient services. Our budget plan includes the establishment of an unprecedented 5-day processing standard for new business licenses and export licenses. It also helps our veterans get the benefits they have earned to get medical care or get a small business loan. And, after seeing court closures across California, our budget will help courts to improve access to justice.
Looking ahead, the Assembly will work with the Senate and the governor to reconcile differences over the budget in a process called the Joint Conference Committee on Budget. With a couple of weeks to go before the Legislature’s deadline to pass a final budget, this framework will help the Legislature conclude and adopt a budget by June 15th.
This has been Assemblymember Bob Blumenfield. Thank you very much for listening.”
Asambleísta Blumenfield: La Asamblea del Estado de California Adopta Plan del Presupuesto Fiscal Balanceado y Responsable
SACRAMENTO – En el mensaje demócrata semanal, el asambleísta Bob Blumenfield (D-San Fernando Valley), presidente del comité del presupuesto de la Asamblea, comenta la adopción del plan de gasto que refleja los principios del Plan de Acción por un Presupuesto Responsable (www.asmdc.org/budget-blueprint). El presupuesto de la Asamblea mejora la responsabilidad fiscal, refuerza la clase media y al pequeño comerciante, y hace que los servicios vitales sean más efectivos y eficientes. El plan cancela $4.7 mil millones de dólares en deudas estatales, incluyendo reservas y ahorros que totalizan el doble del monto propuesto por el gobernador, e invierte en la educación – incluyendo la Beca de Estudios de la Clase Media que recortaría el costo de la matrícula en las universidades de California en un 40 por ciento.
El discurso radial en archivo de MP3 puede ser localizado en el sitio de Internet. Tiempo de duración es 4:20: mp3
“Que tal, les habla el presidente del comité del presupuesto Bob Blumenfield del Valle de San Fernando con una importante actualización de su presupuesto estatal.
Esta semana, la Asamblea adoptó un plan de gasto que refleja nuestro compromiso con gobernar responsablemente. La aprobación del comité sobre el plan de gasto concluyó con una serie de 61 foros públicos durante los últimos cinco meses, los cuales recaudaron opiniones e ideas de miles de californianos a través de todo el estado.
Nuestro plan del presupuesto de la Asamblea está diseñado con el compromiso fiscal, empoderar a nuestra clase media, y entregar los servicios gubernamentales de manera más efectiva y eficiente. Después de haber recortado más de 50 mil millones de dólares en los últimos años, nosotros sabemos que debemos ser prudentes y evitar recaer en el hoyo financiero que costo años de dolor y sacrificio para salir. Es por esa razón que el plan de la Asamblea es balanceado en múltiples años para el futuro.
Además cancela las deudas estatales de $4.7 mil millones de dólares e incluye reservas presupuestarias y aparta el doble del monto del gobernador. Es más, nuestro plan presupuestario será apareado con un fondo para los días difíciles lo cual los votantes decidirán con su voto en la elección general del 2014.
Dando una mirada a California, vemos que nuestra economía sigue creciendo, las oportunidades laborales incrementan, y nuestro mercado inmobiliario sigue mejorando. Pero estos logros no son compartidos por muchos de nuestros residentes. Es por esa razón que el plan de presupuesto de la Asamblea hace inversiones precisas para fortalecer a la clase media de California.
Nuestro presupuesto da prioridad a nuevas inversiones en la educación del kínder al décimo segundo grado, complaciendo la promesa a los votantes que aprobaron la iniciativa de nuevos impuestos en noviembre pasado.
Nuestro presupuesto crea una nueva beca para recorta la matricula en un 40% en nuestras universidades públicas para aquellas familias que ganan menos de $150,000. Después de vergonzosos años de aumentos en la matrícula, la Beca de Estudios de la Clase Media entrega el largamente y necesario esperado alivio.
y, como muchos de nuestros compatriotas todavía sin trabajo, nuestro presupuesto revitaliza programas claves de transición desde la asistencia social al empleo para que las personas puedan tener un empleo, pagar por su propio camino, y proveer para sus hijos.
Las finanzas de California están estabilizadas y continúan mejorando. Pero siempre existe el espacio para mejorar y crecer. Es por eso que el presupuesto de la Asamblea apunta a entregar servicios más eficaces y eficientes. Nuestro plan incluye el establecimiento de un proceso estándar sin precedentes de 5 días para adquirir una licencia comercial y de exportación.
También ayuda a nuestros veteranos de guerra a obtener sus beneficios que se han ganado para obtener el cuidado médico o un préstamo para pequeños comerciantes. Y, después de haber sido testigo del cierre de las cortes en California, nuestro presupuesto ayudará a mejorar el acceso a la justicia.
Mirando hacia el futuro inmediato, la Asamblea trabajará en conjunto con el Senado y el gobernador para reconciliar las diferencias sobre el presupuesto en un proceso llamado Comité Conjunto sobre el presupuesto. Con un par de semanas antes de llegar al plazo de la Legislatura para aprobar un presupuesto, este marco de trabajo ayudará a la Legislatura concluir y adoptar el presupuesto estatal para el 15 de junio.
¡Gracias por su atención! Les habló el asambleísta Bob Blumenfield del Valle de San Fernando.”
SACRAMENTO –Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) announced today the Assemblymembers who will serve on the Joint Conference Committee on the Budget, which consists of four Assemblymembers and four Senators to reconcile differences over the budget between the two houses of the Legislature.
The Assemblymembers who will serve on the Committee are Bob Blumenfield (D-San Fernando Valley), who will serve as a co-chair of the Committee, Jeff Gorell (R-Camarillo), Holly Mitchell (D-Culver City), and Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley).
“For the first time in years, we are headed into budget negotiations without the dire need to cut billions from the budget, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to celebrate,” Speaker Pérez said. “It is time to assure our citizens that we are putting the state on a path to avoid future devastating cuts to state-provided services and education. I have confidence that the Conference Committee will craft the best budget possible for the people of California.”
The Assembly’s budget legislation was based on the Blueprint for a Responsible Budget, which focuses on strengthening the middle class, creating more effective and efficient government services and improving fiscal responsibility. This week, the Assembly Budget Committee approved a budget that will reduce California public university fees by up to 40 percent for middle class families and puts aside $2.5 billion in reserves and set-asides to prevent drastic cuts during hard economic times.
(Sacramento) - Assembly Bill 10 by Assemblymember Luis Alejo (D-Salinas) to raise California's minimum wage passed off the State Assembly Floor today with a vote of 42-24. The bill will now head to the State Senate for consideration.
"AB 10 is about equity," says Alejo. "It provides modest increases over time and implements a cost of living adjustment 5 years from now to help ensure equity for minimum wage workers in the long-term."
Specifically under AB 10, in 2014 the hourly minimum wage will increase 25 cents per hour to $8.25, which is $2.00 a day for a standard 8-hour work day. In 2015, the minimum wage will increase to $8.75. In 2016, the minimum wage will increase to $9.25. And in 2017, the minimum wage would be adjusted the state minimum wage on an annual basis according to the rate of inflation. In years of negative inflation, the minimum wage would remain the same.
"We have created a system where we pay workers less but need them to spend more," continues Alejo. "That causes middle class families to fall down the economic ladder. It's the reason our middle class is shrinking and the reason we are facing the largest gap between upper- and lower-income Californians in at least 30 years. That's why this bill is supported by teachers, nurses, firefighters, and thousands of others in public service."
The large wage gap is mostly due to the fact that Congress has only increased the minimum wage 3 times in the last 30 years. However, a national poll conducted in February 2012 found that nearly three in four likely voters (73%) in the U.S. support increasing the minimum wage to $10 per hour and indexing it to inflation.
A National Employment Law Project report from last August found that the majority of jobs created during the economic recovery are low-wage jobs of less than $14 per hour. During the same period of time, a California Budget Project study shows that one-third of all new income into California goes to our state's top 1 percent. In addition, the Census Bureau showed no significant change in income for our poorest workers whereas the top 1 percent saw their income grow by 6 percent in 2011.
Opponents to the minimum wage contend that it is bad for business in a time when the economic environment is harsh. Ironically enough, Congress found that it was in the best interest of commerce when they established minimum wage during the Great Depression with the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. "That's because raising the minimum wage puts more money in the pockets of workers struggling to provide food, clothes, and housing for their families. And when minimum wage workers have more money, they spend it," Alejo explains.
Approximately 43 percent of minimum wage workers are under the age of 35. A study from the Center for Economic & Policy Research shows that today's minimum wage workers are more likely to be better educated than they were in 1980. These are workers with families, struggling to pay for rent and gas, and caring for their parents.
Raising the minimum wage causes a positive multiplier effect in local communities. In fact, according to a study co-authored by economic professors at the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Massachusetts, and the University of North Carolina, raising the minimum wage does not eliminate low-paying jobs in either the short- or long-term.
AB 10 will now be sent to the State Senate for consideration.
SACRAMENTO – In an effort to help California veterans and their families get off the streets and into homes, the California Assembly unanimously passed the Veterans Housing and Homeless Prevention Act, authored by Speaker John A. Pérez (D – Los Angeles). Assembly Bill 639 focuses on providing housing for veterans and their families who are homeless or at risk for becoming homeless, as well as providing services to help them obtain and keep their homes, such as job training, underemployment assistance, mental health counseling, physical rehabilitation and substance abuse treatment.
“We are also seeing an increased number of younger veterans and women veterans and their families becoming homeless at rates faster than their Vietnam-era counterparts,” Speaker Perez said. “Providing more supportive housing opportunities will help to reduce the number homeless veterans and also significantly decrease healthcare and public safety costs as many homeless veterans unfortunately get tangled in our jail system and disproportionately use our emergency rooms.”
The Act provides California’s voters with the opportunity to repurpose $600 million in existing veterans’ bond funds to respond more effectively to the housing needs of today’s veteran population and their families. More than $1 billion of voter-approved funds has been put aside for single family homes and farms, while the need for multifamily, transitional and supportive housing has greatly increased. AB 639 expands on proven and cost-effective supportive housing and service models that will reduce veterans’ homelessness, leverage public and private dollars, and decrease other public costs (e.g. health care and incarceration expenditures).
California has the largest veteran population in the US, with almost two million veterans calling California home—a number which is expected to rise by over 200,000 when the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq wind down. California also has the most homeless veterans than any other state, with 25 percent of homeless veterans in the nation residing in the state. If AB 639 passes, California will be at the forefront of the country’s efforts to end veteran homelessness by 2015.
(Sacramento) - In an effort to help California veterans and their families get off the streets and into homes, the California Assembly has unanimously passed the Veterans Housing and Homeless Prevention Act, authored by Speaker John A. Pérez (D – Los Angeles). Assembly Bill 639 focuses on providing housing for veterans and their families who are homeless or at risk for becoming homeless, as well as providing services to help them obtain and keep their homes, such as job training, underemployment assistance, mental health counseling, physical rehabilitation and substance abuse treatment. “We are also seeing an increased number of younger veterans and women veterans and their families becoming homeless at rates faster than their Vietnam-era counterparts,” Speaker Perez said. “Providing more supportive housing opportunities will help to reduce the number homeless veterans and also significantly decrease healthcare and public safety costs.” Here’s more in this Assembly Access video.
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."