Bigelow: Where Are The Details?
Assemblymember Frank Bigelow
Assemblyman Frank Bigelow says he's learning quickly that the budget process for a state lawmaker is much different than a county Supervisor.
Bigelow spent time on the Madera County Board of Supervisors prior to representing District Five in the Assembly, and is preparing for his first budget vote at the state level. A vote is expected either late Friday or early Saturday, and the outline was worked out between Governor Jerry Brown and Democratic leaders in the Senate and Assembly.
"The Republicans don't really know what is coming in this proposed budget, it hasn't gone to print, and we haven't seen it," says Bigelow. "I can't really explain to the public what the gross numbers are, or any specific details."
Democratic lawmakers have a majority in both chambers, so technically they do not need any Republican votes. For that reason, the GOP has been left out of most negotiations.
"Certainly it is not what I am accustomed to as a former county Supervisor, where we know every detail of the budget," he adds. "At the state level it is altogether different and you are somewhat left in the dark, and are asked at the last possible minute, ‘do you agree with this or not."
The budget needs to be posted for only 24 hours before a formal vote. Bigelow notes that a major question he has is whether funds from recently approved Propositions 30 and 39 are going to their stated destinations.
Democratic leaders have stated that the negotiated budget will be $96.4 billion. Education funding will increase by $2.1 billion, and there will be additional funding for programs like Medi-Cal and CalWORKS.
Bigelow's District Five includes both Tuolumne and Calaveras Counties.
Written by BJ Hansen