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Brown Budget 2011: State Officials React

| January 10, 2011
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A rather random selection of reaction to Gov. Brown’s 2011-2012 budget, which calls for an additional $12.5 billion in budget cuts and a five-year extension of “temporary” sales and income taxes adopted under Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

University of California President Mark Yudof, An Open Letter to California:

“This is a sad day for California. In the budget proposed by Gov. Brown, the collective tuition payments made by University of California students for the first time in history would exceed what the state contributes to the system’s general fund. The crossing of this threshold transcends mere symbolism and should be profoundly disturbing to all Californians. Early and enduring support for the University of California has been critical to the state’s success, seeding the world’s eighth largest economy, shaping its society and serving its citizenry in myriad other ways. California emerged as the Great Exception, to borrow Carey McWilliams’ phrase, in large part because of this investment, made across generations by all California taxpayers in the service of a common good.”

State Controller John Chiang (second-term Democrat):

“Governor Brown has proposed some ugly solutions to an even uglier situation, but history has shown that surrendering to gimmicks and delay only makes our problems multiply. It is a refreshing departure from past schemes that too often sacrificed long-term fiscal stability for band-aid solutions. While more work is required, this plan is an honest first step toward building consensus on how to best shape California’s future. This plan is a good first step toward building consensus on how to best shape California’s future.”

State Treasurer Bill Lockyer (Democrat)

The Governor’s proposal is realistic and provocative. The plan acknowledges that a balanced remedy of spending reductions and revenues is the best cure, that we would do more harm to our economy and families if we set fire to government, or treated taxpayers like ATMs. And it provokes a necessary discussion about how much responsibility and accountability for public services should reside in our communities. To prevent further damage to the State’s credit rating and start restoring California’s reputation, action by the Legislature and Governor must be timely and credible. It’s time narrow interests took a back seat to California’s interests.


George Runner, state Board of Equalization (Republican)

Californians are confronted with a huge budget crisis. The fact is for too many years we’ve been spending more money than we should. More money has been going out than revenues coming in. The real answer to this problem isn’t about how much we can cut. The real answer is getting Californians back to work. We can solve our budget problem and the best way to do that is by getting Californians jobs. I’m going to be looking at this budget through that lens. I applaud the Governor for proposing difficult spending cuts. But I can’t support proposals to hurt private sector jobs through punitive tax hikes. Californians have already spoken on the issue of taxes by resoundingly rejecting every proposed tax increase on recent ballots. A special election to hike taxes is a waste of taxpayers’ time and money.

State Superintendent of Schools Tom Torlakson (Democrat)

The Governor made good on his word to make tough decisions. Unfortunately, this budget extends the financial emergency facing California’s schools. “The Governor is correct in pointing out that our schools already have been hurt far too much by the $18 billion in cuts made over the last three years. We once led the nation in investing in our children and their future. Now, we’re scraping the bottom of the barrel—with the largest classes, the shortest school year, and the fewest counselors of almost any state in the nation. This budget should sound the alarm for every Californian, and challenge us all to find a way to provide our schools with the resources that restore our state to its rightful place as a leader in public education.”

State Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg (Democrat)

The Governor’s proposed budget is complete and it is balanced. His budget asks the Legislature and the public to make some of the most difficult choices we have ever been asked to make. But as unappealing and painful as the Governor’s proposed budget is, the only thing worse is to allow this fiscal crisis to linger. Its continued domination of our energy, time, and attention prevents our state from focusing on the myriad of positive opportunities to create a 21st century education system, a high wage clean energy economy, and building strength in our regions and local communities.


Senate Minority Leader Bob Dutton (Republican)

Governor Brown’s budget proposal contains difficult but necessary spending reductions, which Republicans have supported in the past as the best way to address our state budget deficit. Unfortunately, the governor’s proposal is not a complete plan because it assumes voters will support major tax increases, but doesn’t provide solutions if they reject them. If voters say “no” to the tax hikes, as Republicans expect, it means a $10 billion budget hole come June.”

Assembly Speaker John Pérez (Democrat)

The Governor’s budget is the starting point of a responsible fiscal plan for California. I look forward to working with the Governor to approve a budget that will begin to eliminate our structural deficit and protect California jobs.


Assembly Minority Leader Connie Conway (Republican)

Assembly Republicans stand united as the last line of defense for California taxpayers. There are not votes in the Assembly Republican Caucus to place the same tax increases that voters overwhelmingly rejected less than two years ago back on the ballot. Californians have sent a strong message at the polls that they want Sacramento to make government live within its means. Assembly Republicans are ready to work with the Governor and Democrats to achieve an on-time, balanced budget that respects the will of the voters.

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About the Author ()

Dan Brekke has worked in media ever since Nixon's first term, when newspapers were still using hot type. He had moved on to online news by the time Bill Clinton met Monica Lewinsky. He's been at KQED since 2007, is an enthusiastic practitioner of radio and online journalism and will talk to you about absolutely anything. Reach Dan Brekke at dbrekke@kqed.org.

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