Under California’s constitution, the Legislature must produce a balanced budget by June 15th, and it has to be signed into law no later than June 30th. Expenditures over the coming Fiscal Year are expected to be around $286 billion.
Drafting a budget for a state larger than most countries is a monumental task. California’s constitution requires the Governor to introduce a budget by January 10th. That proposal is analyzed by the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office, which forwards its analysis to the Legislature for use in debates over drafting the final new spending plan. Once the Governor’s budget is received, it is divided into broad subject areas, such as Education, Health and Human Resources, Public Safety and so forth. The plan is then submitted to the appropriate legislative committees for consideration. In May, the budget proposal is updated when the Governor issues his “May Revise,” based on revenues received since January.
This year I serve on the Assembly Budget Committee, which reviews the entire General Fund budget, as well as Budget Subcommittee No. 2 on Education Finance, and Budget Subcommittee No. 5 on Public Safety. Budget committees control the state’s purse strings -- their decisions impact the lives of all Californians.
The state’s spending must be prioritized --- with actual needs placed above politically expedient wants. Given current economic circumstances, including a huge budget surplus estimated at around $31 billion (some estimates are much higher), we should be able to fund critical needs and provide relief for hard-pressed Californians. In my opinion, relief must include temporary suspension of the gas tax.
As your Representative, my budget priorities include fully funding law enforcement, increasing our local water supply and infrastructure, reliable broadband internet for rural communities, and funding for brush clearance and fire prevention locally and across California.
As always, we must ensure taxpayers that their money is spent wisely.