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Local legislators praise, caution Brown on budget

Posted: January 11, 2013 5:19 p.m.
Updated: January 11, 2013 5:19 p.m.

Local legislators are largely applauding Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed 2013-14 spending plan, which forecasts a budget surplus for the next fiscal year and increases state funding to education.

Brown’s budget predicts the state will see a budget surplus at the end of the 2013-2014 fiscal year, which begins July 1.

Assemblyman Steve Fox, D-Palmdale, said the budget “represents a turning point for the state of California.”

“Although we may not be able to reinstate all of the programs that were cut in recent years, we are clearly in a period of economic recovery,” Fox said in a news release.

Assemblyman Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, said he was encouraged by the governor’s calls for fiscal restraint in his budget proposal.

Sen. Steve Knight, R-Palmdale, said he was “happily surprised” to see Brown reign in some spending, even over the protests of some Democrats.

But both Republicans pointed to the existing state debt as an obstacle that has yet to be overcome.

During a news conference Thursday, Brown referred to the “wall of debt” that must be brought down year by year.

By adopting his proposal, Brown said, legislators would be able to reduce California’s current $28 billion-plus debt to less than $5 billion by the end of the 2016-2017 fiscal year.

“By paying down the debt, we put ourselves in a stronger position to handle when things go bad, as they inevitably do,” Brown said Thursday as he outlined his spending plan.

Knight criticized Brown’s budget for not allotting the full balance of Proposition 30 funds to education.

Knight said Brown’s budget includes $4.3 billion in increased education funding next year, which leaves about $1.7 billion in Proposition 30 revenues that will not go toward education.

“And I’m going to fight and yell and scream about that $1.7 billion,” Knight said.

Knight also said he was encouraged that some Democratic leaders seem willing to curtail spending in favor of paying off the state’s debt and building reserve funds.

“The idea that we don’t have to spend every last cent — that’s encouraging,” Knight said. “People like to hear that our government is sound and can manage when things are rough.”
On Twitter @LukeMMoney




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