SACRAMENTO – Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) and Assembly Budget Committee Chair Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) released the 2014 Blueprint for a Responsible Budget yesterday, highlighting priorities Assembly Democrats will focus on in upcoming budget deliberations to ensure stability and expand opportunity in the state. Here is what people are saying about it so far.
California Community Colleges Vice Chancellor Dan Troy:
“After years of disinvestment in higher education caused by a severe economic downturn, the Chancellor's Office welcomes the recognition by Speaker Perez that California community colleges play a central role in the economic vibrancy of our state. Enhanced funding support for community colleges can help restore access to courses and enhance student success for those served at our 112 colleges. This is good news for students, the workforce and for all Californians.”
California State University Chancellor Timothy P. White:
“The California State University (CSU) is very encouraged by the 2014-15 Budget Blueprint unveiled today by the Speaker and the Assembly Democratic Caucus that prioritizes higher education funding to expand opportunities for students and bolster the quality of educational programs. Each year, the CSU turns away more than 20,000 fully eligible students. With a continued investment in the CSU, the university is poised to serve more students and expand high-impact teaching practices that advance degree completion. The university looks forward to reviewing this proposal in more detail, and is committed to working with the Governor and Legislature through the budget process.”
University of California Vice President Patrick Lenz:
“We are very encouraged. After years of declining state support during the economic recession, we welcome legislative initiatives to help meet the current and future needs of California by supporting the vital mission of our public university system. Increased state funding beyond a 5 percent base budget increase will address enrollment growth – potentially adding an additional 2,200 freshmen and community college transfers – and the urgent need to reinvest in the academic quality of the University. We thank the speaker for his support of the proposals outlined in our 2014-15 budget request and welcome further collaboration to help keep UC accessible, affordable and academically excellent. This is a promising development for the University of California and, in the long run, for all of California.”
Early Edge California President Catherine Atkin:
“2014 is poised to become a momentous year for early learning. With a powerful body of research, increasing public support, an improving economy and elected officials like Speaker Pérez taking a stand, our youngest learners are a top priority.
We are extremely encouraged by the Assembly Speaker and Assembly Democrats’ commitment to expanding transitional kindergarten to serve all 4 year olds, as well as strengthening early care and education programs serving children from birth through 3 years old. This is an historic opportunity to improve education for California’s youngest learners.
Now is the time to ensure all of California’s children have the strong foundation they need to succeed in school and beyond. Early Edge California is committed to working with our legislators and Governor Brown to make this dream of giving all children the opportunity to succeed in school a reality.”
Executive Director for Health Access California Anthony Wright:
“The Assembly leadership is appropriately looking at restoring the worst of the cuts that were slashed during the budget crisis. It would be financially irresponsible not to revisit and restore some of the cuts made during the depth of the recession, including those that can draw down more federal matching funds.”
County Welfare Directors Association of California Executive Director Frank Mecca:
“We commend Speaker John Pérez and the Assembly Democratic Caucus for highlighting the crisis of millions of children living in poverty across our communities, and outlining effective and practical ways we can improve their lives. Child poverty is a terrible plague that haunts children and families for generations. Mountains of research have conclusively proven that children who suffer the trauma of economic insecurity, destitution, hunger and homelessness too often become adults who deal with the same challenges. We see this every day in our schools and county human service offices.
Clearly, children and families pay the ultimate price for poverty, but our economy suffers too – staggering costs to health, social services and corrections, and billions of dollars annually in lost productivity. And despite California’s improving economy, we have the highest child poverty rate in the country. That’s why we applaud the Speaker and Caucus for identifying strategic, research-supported approaches – such as the Earned Income Tax Credit and adequate child care and employment training support – that can be implemented while prudently building a reserve and paying down debt.
Anti-poverty strategies are critical to achieving the goal of long-term economic health for our communities and our state. We look forward to collaborating with the Speaker and Legislature on proposals for the 2014-15 State Budget.”
Service Employees International Union (SEIU) President Laphonza Butler:
“After years of austerity budgets that led California in the wrong direction, we are encouraged to see a turn-around plan for our state that prioritizes the critical investments we need today so our state can thrive tomorrow.
Improving Medi-Cal access is a smart use of health care dollars that puts the focus on keeping Californians healthy and reducing chronic care costs. Giving working families tax relief and supporting parents as they transition from welfare to work represent a strong economic boost for our state.
Most importantly, this budget plan recognizes that when it comes to building a strong state for the future, we’re all in this together. The Speaker’s plan wisely invests in educating our children from pre-school through college. Long overdue investments in early childhood education are the foundation needed to ready young minds to absorb their K-12 studies and beyond, while reducing the social costs of poor educational attainment.
SEIU members stepped forward when our state needed us, enduring painful cuts to the services we provide to our communities, and volunteering our time and resources to pass Prop. 30 to secure the revenues needed to stop the cuts and invest in our future. We applaud the Speaker and Assemblymember Skinner’s forward-looking vision and look forward to working with them to flesh out the blueprint in our effort to address our communities’ needs. As the budget process moves forward, Californians can count on us to be champions for smart public services, such as home care, that save money even while improving lives, and for investment in the next generation.”
SEIU – United Healthcare Workers President Dave Regan:
“This is an important and commendable position that the Assembly Democrats have staked out today and, if passed, California patients will be the true beneficiaries and have greater access to quality care.”
California Medical Association President Richard Thorp, M.D:
“The forecasted budget surplus, along with today’s announcement from Assembly Democrats, gives us hope that California will stop balancing the budget at the expense of patients who need care the most but have the hardest time getting it. California has the lowest Medicaid reimbursement rates in the country – and a commitment to restore cuts made in 2011 will help increase access for the millions of new patients eligible for health care coverage under federal reform.”
California Hospital Association CEO Duane Dauner:
“California’s patients will be better served by this blueprint. Restoring funding to Medi-Cal will increase access to care at a time when patients need it most – this is truly an investment in the health and future of our state.”
For more information on the 2014 Blueprint for a Responsible Budget, visit http://asmdc.org and click on the Blueprint for a Responsible Budget button.
SACRAMENTO – To ensure stability and expand opportunity in California, Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) and Assembly Budget Committee Chair Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) released the 2014 Blueprint for a Responsible Budget today, highlighting priorities Assembly Democrats will focus on in upcoming budget deliberations.
“By following this Budget Blueprint we can ensure fiscal stability in California by establishing a real rainy day fund and building the state’s budget reserve,” Speaker Pérez said. “We can also expand opportunity by making prudent investments in job creation, job training, early childhood education and higher education. With the budget process officially beginning next month, we believe it is helpful to the people of California to show some of the key priorities that will be shaping the discussion.”
The Speaker and Assemblymember Skinner said they planned to work closely with their legislative counterparts and the governor to approve a budget by the June 15 constitutional deadline. The governor’s initial budget proposal is slated to be released next month.
“This blueprint makes prudent use of one-time funds, pays down the debt and helps create jobs,” Assemblymember Skinner said. “While restraint is necessary to not invite the next bust cycle, this plan addresses the needs of our poorest children, improves access to healthcare and gets cap and trade revenues reinvested in our communities. I look forward to the thorough public process that will happen in the months ahead.”
The 2014/2015 Blueprint is based on the following two principles, achieving stability and expanding opportunity. Some of the key areas in the 2014 Blueprint for a Responsible Budget are:
Crafting a real rainy day fund and building an $8 billion reserve to continue stability and prevent cycles of boom and bust.
Establishing Universal Transitional Kindergarten to ensure more California children have access to the best possible start for their time in school.
Funding Higher Education and Financial Aid by strengthening Cal Grants and expanding funding for UC and CSU to prevent further fee increases, expand enrollment and maintain quality.
Reducing Child Poverty to address the intolerable situation where one-fourth of California children live in poverty, with life-long consequences.
Investing in jobs and job creation, including expanding job training programs, fixing bureaucratic problems with state’s Veterans’ Employment Services, and generating hundreds of millions of dollars in loan guarantees for California’s small businesses to hire and expand.
Attached is more information about the Blueprint for a Responsible Budget or you can go to the Assembly’s website at http://asmdc.org/ and click on the Blueprint for a Responsible Budget button.
SACRMENTO – Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) released the following statement on the death of Nelson Mandela:
“The world has lost one of the greatest crusaders for justice it has ever known. As we mourn his passing we must also remember the meaning of Nelson Mandela’s struggle and triumph. The fight for equality and justice must go on, here at home and around the world.”
SACRAMENTO—Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) released the following statement on the decision by the board of Covered California today to maintain the current board policy for health plan renewals. Speaker Pérez is the author of the legislation that established Covered California, the nation’s first health care exchange created under the federal Affordable Care Act, and the author of the legislation that expanded Medi-Cal coverage to over one million low-income and uninsured Californians:
“Bucking political pressure and staying the course is the smartest way to keep health insurance costs down and maintain the consumer protections that are at the heart of the Affordable Care Act. Today's decision was the right thing to do, and sends a powerful signal to the rest of the nation since California is leading in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. The Board's action continues that momentum to provide millions of California families with the affordable, quality health care they deserve.”
SACRAMENTO—Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) released the following statement on the Legislative Analyst’s Office report published today on California’s Fiscal Outlook for the 2014-2015 budget:
“The numbers released today validate the wisdom of the fiscal actions the legislature and governor have taken. While the surpluses and increased revenue projections are welcome after so many years of recession and deficit, our job now is to maintain the fiscal prudence that put us in this favorable position, while at the same time making smart use of one-time money and stronger revenues to reinvest in California families. I am also committed to establishing a real Rainy Day Fund that will take the spiking revenues we get in good years like this and bank them away for stability in years where revenues come up short.”
SACRAMENTO – Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) released the following statement on the U.S Commerce Department announcing a new permanent location for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in San Jose, which is set to open by the end of 2014. In 2012, the California Legislature passed a bipartisan joint resolution, AJR 23, co-authored by Speaker Pérez, strongly urging the Commerce Department to site an USPTO satellite office in California:
“I am delighted the U.S. Commerce Department has been able to move ahead and select a permanent U.S. Patent and Trademark Office site in the Silicon Valley. The USPTO’s selection of the city of San Jose for the permanent office is another strong indicator of the importance of California’s innovation economy. I am proud to have worked with California’s Congressional delegation, local and state leaders, and the private sector to push for siting an office in California, and I am also proud that the Assembly has been able to step up and help move this vital project forward.”
According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, a permanent West Coast office will enable the USPTO to help more entrepreneurs understand their intellectual property rights, put their business plans into action in order to attract financial capital, and create more jobs across our great state. The San Jose City Hall location will provide office space for patent examiners and Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) judges, outreach and training facilities, and public hearing rooms for PTAB proceedings, including its trial proceedings, which clarify the quality and certainty of a patent right and serve as a low-cost and efficient alternative to litigation in the federal court system.
In announcing the permanent satellite office in San Jose, the Commerce Department also acknowledged the “generous support and assistance from the City of San Jose, the California State Assembly’s Speaker’s Office, along with the collective support for the satellite office championed by members of the California Congressional delegation,” in enabling the USPTO to occupy the permanent space in Silicon Valley by the end of 2014.
SACRAMENTO—Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) released the following statement on California Attorney General Kamala Harris shutting down 10 websites that were imitating the state’s health benefit exchange website, Covered California. Speaker Pérez is the author of the legislation that established Covered California, the nation’s first health care exchange created under the federal Affordable Care Act, and he wrote AB 1761 in 2012, which prohibits false representation of Covered California:
“Under the Affordable Care Act, Californians will have access to more affordable and quality health coverage, and consumers will need accurate information about their coverage options to make the best informed choices. I authored AB 1761 to ensure that we prevent any confusion created by false representations of Covered California. I want to thank Attorney General Harris for her hard and diligent work on this issue, and for her efforts in shutting down these websites, helping Californians confidently sign up for health coverage online. I encourage Californians to stay vigilant of these false websites, and I will continue to ensure that the state helps consumers have access to accurate information.”
SACRAMENTO—Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) released the following statement on President Barack Obama’s announcement today on the Affordable Care Act. Speaker Pérez is the author of the legislation that established Covered California, the nation’s first health care exchange created under the federal Affordable Care Act, and the author of the legislation that expanded Medi-Cal coverage to over one million low-income and uninsured Californians:
“California is working hard to continue to implement the market reforms and goals of the Affordable Care Act, and we are leading the nation in enrollment. Today's announcement adds another wrinkle to the implementation, but will not slow us down in providing more Californians with access to quality, affordable health care. In partnership with the stakeholders in this process, we will make the necessary tweaks in the implementation to benefit everyone.”
SACRAMENTO – Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland), the first Filipino American elected to the California Legislature, held a joint press conference today with Senate President pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) and Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) encouraging Californians to support Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda relief efforts. Representatives from the Sacramento Red Cross, CaliforniaVolunteers and the California Office of Emergency Services also participated in the event to help inform Californians on how they can help victims of the Super Typhoon. Deputy Consul General of the Philippine Consulate General in San Francisco Jaime Ramon T. Ascalon thanked Californians for their help during one of the worst storms in recorded history.
“As my Filipino brothers and sisters struggle to survive, locate their loved ones, and heal after this tragedy, I am encouraged that our state leaders, along with the rest of the country and world, are moved with empathy, concern, and a desire to help, and are turning those feelings into tremendous relief efforts,” Assemblymember Bonta said. “California is uniquely affected by the typhoon in that our state is home to the largest Filipino American population in the entire United States. There are approximately 1.5 million Filipino Americans in California; this represents 43 percent of the nation’s entire Filipino American population. Many came to the U.S. within the last decade and still have deep ties to the Philippines. I’m proud that our state leaders stand in solidarity in support of the relief efforts.”
“On behalf of the government and people of the Philippines, Consul General Marciano Paynor, Jr., thank you so very much for all of your efforts here in California toward providing relief for the Philippines,” Deputy Consul General Ascalon said. “The immediate response from Assemblymember Bonta, Speaker Perez, pro Tempore Steinberg and other officials and members of the community is yet another example of the true friendship our country has with California. It is great to see that when we are in need, California’s greatness, generosity and leadership is without hesitation.”
At the event, Speaker Pérez announced that the Assembly website will direct people to organizations helping to assist victims of Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda. The website, asmdc.org, also has links to help inform Californians on how to prepare for disasters here at home. Senator Steinberg’s website also has an informational link found here.
“As Californians, we have had our share of natural disasters,” Speaker Pérez said, “and we understand how horrific the cost can be—not just in dollars and cents, but in human terms. The photos and news reports have shown the devastation… And as with other recent massive disasters in Haiti and Japan, the people of California have been eager to respond.”
Senate pro Tempore Steinberg and Sacramento Red Cross representative Kathleen Weis informed people on what can be done locally for victims of the Typhoon.
“When we go about our daily lives and travails here at home, the stunning devastation suffered in the Philippines puts it all in perspective,” said Senate President pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg. “The California sprit is to ask what we can do to help and then to follow through. But recovery in such massive disasters will take years. What we cannot forget is that long after the news coverage wanes and the cameras are gone, the suffering and the need for help will remain for the victims of Typhoon Haiyan.”
“Typhoon Haiyan left a trail of devastation that is heartbreaking for the local community,” said Kathleen Weis, CEO for the Capital Region Chapter. “It is the generosity of our donors that help us to provide aid to those in need in the Philippines quickly so they can get the resources needed to recover from this tragedy. The American Red Cross is committed to help those affected.”
“Our hearts go out to those impacted by this devastating typhoon,” said Mark Ghilarducci, Director of the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services. “We are working with our counterparts in state and federal government to closely monitor the relief efforts and ensure California is ready to help,” said Ghilarducci. More information can be found at www.caloes.ca.gov.
LOS ANGELES - Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) will be speaking at the Cinco Puntos All Wars Memorial in Boyle Heights on Veterans Day, where he will honor the service and sacrifice of California's veterans and reflect on the Assembly's legislation this year to support veterans.
"As citizens of this state and country, it is our basic obligation to stand up for the men and women who have devoted their lives to protecting our nation," Speaker Pérez said. "I am proud to say that this year's legislative session has placed California at the forefront of our nation's efforts to assist veterans. We passed legislation that will allow voters to approve a measure supporting better housing options for veterans, helped reduce the unacceptable backlog of California veteran disability benefits claims, and we increased funding to county Veterans Service Offices for improved outreach for veterans.
There is, however, more work to be done. The men and women who put on the uniforms of our armed forces do so hoping their service and sacrifice means their families, friends and neighbors will all have the ability to enjoy life liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Our responsibility must be to ensure that after their service is over the lives of our veterans can go on as well."
The All Wars Memorial, which was originally constructed in 1947 to honor Mexican Americans who fought in wars on behalf of the United States, was vandalized in November 2012. Thieves made off with three bronze plaques, and attempted to take a fourth. Speaker Pérez presented replacement plaques for the vandalized the Cinco Puntos All Wars Memorial in March.
Speaker Pérez also will reiterate his intent to pursue AB 1268 in January. AB 1268 would establish the Veterans Workforce Development and Employment Office within the state Labor Agency, better coordinating and administering the state's veteran workforce development, outreach, and employment services operated by various federal, state and local agencies and departments.
California is home to the largest veteran population in the nation, and as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan wind down, the state is on the verge of seeing an annual return of 30,000 to 45,000 veterans returning home, making it imperative that there is better coordination and administration of the state's veteran employment agencies.
See below for actions taken by Speaker Pérez and the Assembly to support veterans from the 2013 Legislative year:
The Veterans Housing and Homeless Prevention Bond Act of 2014 – The Housing and Homeless Prevention Bond was signed into law by governor Brown on October 10, 2014. AB 639 seeks to repurpose $600 million of existing bond authority, subject to voter approval, from the state veteran single family farm and home loan program to construct and rehabilitate multifamily, transitional and supportive housing for homeless veterans and their families.
Claims Strike Forces – As a result of the Speaker's leadership, the 2013-14 state Budget Act includes an initiative that will allow the state to help the United States Department of Veterans Affairs reduce the backlog of California veteran disability benefit claims by providing funding for a new claims strike force of state employees. The funding increase from the budget, along with improved training from California Department of Veterans Affairs through its CVSO accreditation process, will improve the state's service to veterans and compliment the work of the claims strike forces.
County Veterans Service OfficesFunding Increase – To further assist veterans in filing claims and accessing veteran benefits and programs, $3 million was appropriated in the 2013-14 Budget Act to increase the state subvention for County Veteran Service Offices, who often represent the primary point of contact for veterans attempting to access their benefits.