The California Budget Project (CBP), a nonpartisan public policy research group, released the following statement from Executive Director Chris Hoene in response to this morning’s release of Governor Jerry Brown’s May Revision to his proposed 2014-15 budget:
“The revised state budget that the Governor released today presents a false choice between fiscal responsibility and reinvestment in public services and systems that are especially critical with so many Californians still recovering from the deepest economic downturn in generations.
“With the state’s finances improving, policymakers need to strike a balance among paying down debt, saving for a rainy day, and rebuilding core public services that are critical to economic opportunity and basic well-being, and yet are still operating with severely diminished levels of funding after years of cuts. These include CalWORKs and other programs that help Californians find and keep jobs, high-quality child care and preschool, and services for low-income seniors and people with disabilities. This year’s budget also could do much more to reverse the trend of rising corrections spending as well as a generation of deteriorating support for the California State University and University of California.
“The Governor’s revised budget does reflect some important areas of progress, especially with regard to expanding Medi-Cal and addressing the state’s long-term liabilities. But as the Governor and the Legislature work to finalize a spending plan for 2014-15, it’s vital that they focus on meeting the serious challenges facing California’s families and communities in the here and now, such as widening inequality, high poverty rates, and persistently high long-term unemployment.”
Later this week, the CBP will release its initial analysis of the May Revision, highlighting key changes and important new policy proposals — and the issues they raise for the state budget debate. The CBP will also release additional commentary and analysis in the days that follow.