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Budget & Legislative Deadline

The Legislature passed a budget with record high spending. The $122.5 billion dollar spending plan socks away money into the “Rainy Day” budget reserve fund, increases K-14 education spending and includes some new funding for local law enforcement and jail construction. These are good things.

Budgets are about priorities, and I think the Legislature missed the mark on a lot of issues:

First, this budget is $7 billion dollars more than last year’s; despite the Governor’s warning that higher spending could put our financial stability at risk in years to come. We are just now recovering from a devastating financial situation that dramatically impacted our schools, social safety net and job market. Looking ahead and avoiding decisions we can’t afford down the road would be more prudent.

The poor state of our roads was also ignored. Preliminary budget reports do not indicate any increase will be put to fixing the state’s roads, bridges and highways. The state’s lack of action on our decaying roads not only costs us more in car repairs, it is leaving local governments scrambling to finance needed repairs. Transportation infra-structure should be one of the state’s main priorities – not something that lines up behind new government office buildings and an unpopular high speed rail system for the crumbs.

Tree mortality is a crisis in the making. The governor has recognized it, but as the magnitude of the problem continues to grow, it has become apparent it will dramatically alter many areas of California if left unchecked. It is unclear whether our communities facing high tree mortality rates will get little additional assistance.