Sonora, Ca — Many in the Mother Lode are pleased with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger´s May Revised Budget, which calls for the full funding of education, elimination of a proposal to release 22,000 prisoners early, and a reverse on his position to close down numerous state parks.
“My initial reaction is positive,” says Tuolumne County Superintendent of Schools Joe Silva. “What I heard the Governor say is that he supports full funding for Prop. 98.”
Previously, the Governor had indicated that he is in favor of suspending Proposition 98, which requires a minimum percentage of the state budget be spent on education. The Governor had proposed a 10 percent across the board cut, which has had education leaders bracing for a large decrease in available funding.
“I am encouraged to see the Governor´s plans to fully fund education and abandon the proposal to release prisoners early and close state parks,” stated 25th District Assemblyman Tom Berryhill. “There is clearly much work to be done on the proposal. Spending is still the problem. Searching for new revenues and areas to borrow and shift funds is not the way to solve the ongoing budget crisis. Only when we take seriously the need for cuts and reforms will we have a balanced budget.”
By taking the closure of state parks of the table, supporters of Railtown 1897 in Jamestown are breathing a sigh of relief.
“We are just ecstatic,” says Tuolumne County Visitors Bureau Executive Director Nanci Sikes. “We are very happy with this news that our state parks in general, and notably Railtown 1897, will survive. It is so important to our economy.”
The proposed closures were also something that District 14 State Senator Dave Cogdill has lobbied against.
“I support the Governor´s decision to keep state parks open,” says Cogdill “Not only do our parks contribute to our state´s beauty, they also draw tourism which is a large component of our economy.”
In the Governor´s budget, he is proposing deeper cuts then expected to healthcare and welfare programs for the poor. He is also proposing that lawmakers loosen restrictions on the state lottery, which would in theory increase its bottom line. The Governor would like to borrow $15 billion over a three year period from increased revenue from the games.
Written by BJ Hansen