Statement on Passage of the Budget

June 28, 2011

We had to pass this budget.  All of us must take action together in order to get our state back on a stable course.

I voted yes because this budget is a forward step towards the future, it:

  • Gets us out of this budget crisis
  • Contributes to our economic recovery by creating and protecting jobs
  • Maintains services which make the difference between life and death for some Californians;
  • Preserves our core infrastructure while making needed reforms

I want to thank all who testified or wrote, pleading with us to hearken to their stories and needs, over the last three months. Budget Subcommittee 1 held 17 Hearings, heard from more than 1500 people and received several thousand letters, faxes and emails. We heard you.

My colleagues across the aisle were unwilling to match cuts that hurt with resources that salvage, so the balance between cuts and revenue we initially sought was not possible to achieve. This has necessitated the pain of the previous cuts and the uncertainty of triggers to be pulled if revenue does not meet our expectations. At the other end of those triggers will be people – seniors, children, the disabled – whose welfare was vulnerable before this budget bullseye marked them as targets – and yet it seems this is the best we are prepared to do for them.

We have been able to use unexpected revenue to pay down debts and ameliorate some pain. We will also adopt reforms to streamline government, eliminating commissions and boards, realigning public safety programs and consolidating programs where that can lead to cost savings and effective services.

As Chair of Sub 1- I plan to focus on:

  • Transition of the Healthy Families and AIM programs to MediCal
  • The Public Safety Realignment, which includes Child Welfare services, Drug and Alcohol and Mental Health Services
  • Oversight of the impacts on the safety net of the investments, funding reductions and structural reforms we are implementing with this budget bill and our previous actions
  • I  also plan to work with my colleagues in Budget Subcommittee 2
    • to ensure long term stability of child care funding
    • to help develop the implementation plans for transfer of Mental Health Services to the Department of Education

Over the next months, as we address implementation and review proposals to streamline government and reshape services, I promise that Sub 1 will engage in innovative thinking, inclusive participation and prudent oversight.

I was sent here to help make government work for those who need it, and as an adult I accept that means compromise. This budget is the only viable path to stability and recovery. We have averted an all cuts budget -- but these cuts go so deep, hurting those most in need of services, and exacting the pound of flesh in payment for our economic sins from those who have the least to give. There are aspects to this budget and our actions in March that I could never have envisioned supporting. But these times demand tough choices and thus I cast a yes vote.