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Governor's budget proposal praised by GOP
Gov. Jerry Brown released his budget plan for the 2013-14 fiscal year Thursday and won some praises by Republicans, including state Senator Anthony Cannella, R-Ceres.

"The budget Governor Brown presented today provides an appropriate base for this year's budget," said Cannella. "I am pleased that the governor understands the need to continue to rein in spending, especially as revenues climb, in order to finally tackle our 'wall of debt.' I am also in favor of looking at a new approach to school funding and am interested in examining his proposal. I agree that we should place greater emphasis on local control, so each community can best address their needs."

Board of Equalization member George Runner said he commends Brown for "championing fiscal discipline, which is a foreign concept to most Democrats in the Legislature," but said Brown "has his work cut out for him." But Runner also found disappointment that Brown has not talked about spurring job creation and economic growth.

"California's budget challenges will not be solved by higher taxes, which only serve to chase investment and jobs out of our state and make revenues more volatile," said Runner. "If the governor and Legislature want to ensure California's solvency, they need to help the private sector succeed in our state. That means fewer taxes and regulations, not more. California's unemployment rate is still too high. We need more jobs."

California Republican Party Chairman Tom Del Beccaro issued this statement: "It's easy for Gov. Brown to tout austerity and fiscal restraint when he has more of the taxpayers' money in his pocket. His challenge will be to follow through on those promises when the economy continues to stagnate and the Democrats' pie-in-the-sky projections don't come to pass. That's why Republican legislative leadership correctly proposed this week for the Governor to mandate that his new Prop 30 taxes fund our classrooms and protect our communities.

"What's disappointing about Gov. Brown's announcement is that job creation was never mentioned. Cutting the regulatory burden was ignored. Working with Republicans to unify the state is sadly not part of his agenda. In order for California to finally emerge from its economic doldrums and enter a new Golden Age, the answer lies with policies that encourage job growth and unleash the innovation of small business owners, not with budget wrangling and deferred payments that mask billions in debt to the federal government for unemployment insurance and more.

"We need bold reforms to go hand in hand with accountability and responsible fiscal governance if we want to return California and its citizens to prosperity. If Jerry Brown thinks we're out of the woods just because, on paper, we'll finally be 'living within our means,' he's sadly mistaken."

Brown proposes a balanced state budget that boosts investment in education, implements health-care reform and keeps California on a long-term path to fiscal stability. This budget builds on the work of the last two years to eliminate the ongoing deficit.

"The budget cuts made in the last two years and the passage of Proposition 30 make it possible to both live within our means and to increase funding for education," said Brown.

When Brown took office, the state faced a $26.6 billion budget deficit and estimated annual gaps of roughly $20 billion. The first two state budgets under Brown's watch eliminated these deficits with billions of dollars in cuts, seizing the redevelopment coffers of cities and counties and tax hikes. The 2011-12 and 2012-13 budgets provided three dollars of spending cuts for every dollar in temporary tax revenues approved by the voters.

The budget reflects the continuation of spending cuts made in the last two years, continues to pay down the "wall of debt" and recognizes risks that remain.

"Fiscal discipline is not the enemy of democratic governance, but rather its fundamental predicate," said Brown. "In fact, it is through fiscal discipline that this budget can invest in education, expand health care and provide a safety net for the most vulnerable."

Significant details of the budget proposal include:

By aligning expenditures with revenues, paying down debt and creating a $1 billion reserve, this budget provides long-term fiscal stability on a level that California has not enjoyed in more than a decade.

Education & Local Control

After years of decline, this budget significantly increases state funding per student in K-12 schools - $2,700 by 2016-17. Funding for K-12 and community colleges increases by $2.7 billion next year, and by $19 billion by 2016-17. While K-12 school districts across the state will benefit from the increased funding - through a new school funding formula - school districts serving those students who have the greatest challenges will receive more generous increases. The budget increases flexibility at the local level so those closest to the students can make the decisions.

Higher Education

This budget increases state funding for UC and CSU by an additional five percent, or $250 million. It proposes a multi-year stable funding plan to strengthen the higher education system, ensure affordability and reduce student indebtedness. Higher education costs have risen rapidly and middle class students have paid the price. By shortening the time it takes a student to successfully complete a degree and calling on UC and CSU to deploy their instructional resources more effectively, the system can be made more affordable-both for the students and the state.

Federal health care reform

Brown's proposal implements the Obamacare health care reform. It expands coverage by simplifying Medi-Cal eligibility and extending coverage to childless adults and uninsured parents. Given promised federal funding, the budget outlines two alternative pathways. It also recognizes that implementation of health care reform will require changes in the respective responsibilities of the state and the counties.

The budget proposal takes aim at the $35 billion debt racked up by lawmakers in recent years. Brown wants to see $4.2 billion paid toward debt this year to whittle down the debt to $4.3 billion by the end of 2016-17.

The full budget document may be viewed at