SACRAMENTO – In response to Gov. Jerry Brown’s release of the proposed 2018-2019 California State Budget, Sen. Jeff Stone, R-Riverside County, issued the following statement, Jan. 10.
“As usual, the governor gave a good speech this morning. He talked about fiscal restraint, paying down debt and returning money to local schools,” Stone said. “But as has been the case far too often, the initial budget is the floor, and I’m sure the Democrat leadership in Sacramento will now begin the spending spree we all know is coming.
“According to the governor, the state of California has a massive surplus of state tax dollars due to improved capital gains tax receipts and lower unemployment. Instead of spending the surplus on new government entitlement programs, I am hopeful the final budget will reflect responsible spending priorities such as paying down pension debt, repaying school districts and local governments the money that was taken from them in prior budgets, providing meaningful tax relief to working Californians and putting in adequate resources to the state’s rainy day fund.
“California faces a nearly $250 billion unfunded pension liability, and the amount is anticipated to grow in future years due to lavish benefit increases to public employees granted by the Democrat-controlled Legislature. We should at least make an attempt to make public pensions more secure by making the decision to use a big portion of any surplus to deal with a looming crisis as well as adopting real pension reform that involves moving the state away from exclusively providing defined benefit plans.
“In recent budgets that have required cuts due to the state being in a deficit situation, the Democrats in the Legislature have borrowed billions of dollars from local school districts and local governments to cover the shortfalls. It’s time to pay back our local school districts, our counties and our cities that the Legislature stole from in order to keep paying for more big government social programs, and this is the year that we should repay the debt.
“The general fund budget this year has grown by over 4 percent over last year. The governor was prudent to propose fully funding the rainy day reserve fund, but we have plenty of room to provide much-needed tax relief for California’s working families through income tax rate reductions to mitigate any negative impacts that may come from the recently adopted federal tax reform legislation. Tax reform and rate reduction that I have laid out in concept and will soon introduce as legislation should be a part of the discussion as we go through the budget process over the coming months.”
Sen. Jeff Stone represents California’s 28th Senate District. The district, which is entirely in Riverside County, stretches from the vineyards of the Temecula Valley to the Colorado River and includes the cities of Blythe, Canyon Lake, Cathedral City, Coachella, Desert Hot Springs, Indian Wells, Indio, Lake Elsinore, La Quinta, Murrieta, Temecula, Palm Desert, Palm Springs, Rancho Mirage and Wildomar.