Legislator encouraged by investments in education; urges more action on Sea.
SACRAMENTO â€”Â Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella) released the following statements on Governor Brown Jr.â€™s 2016-17 state budget proposal:
â€œI am pleased to see that the Governorâ€˜s budget makes significant strides to reduce poverty, restore funding for schools and early childhood education, improve our higher education funding, and in the end build reserves in order to invest in future transportation infrastructure efforts throughout our great state, I look forward to working with the Governor and tackling these important and complex issues,â€ said Garcia.
ON SALTON SEA:
â€œI am pleased to see that $80 million has been designated to Salton Sea Restoration,â€ said Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia. â€œThis money is a good first start and will fund the initial short-term projects designed for dust suppression and expanding habitat. Going forward, we will work closely with Gov. Brown to identify funding for the medium and long-term projects that further address the ongoing public health and ecological issues facing the Sea.â€
â€œSupporting early childhood education is key to fostering long term student success,â€ said Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia. â€œHistorically funding for pre-kindergarten education has derived from a multiple of sources. The Early Education Block Grant would consolidate resources to enhance services that in-turn will target our most disadvantaged children.â€
ON DEVELOPMENTAL SERVICES
I am glad that the Governorâ€™s budget is addressing part of the struggle that the developmentally disabled community has been handling over the past few years. During the Special Session on Health and Human Services, the legislature heard a strong message from the developmentally disabled community and this increase to the budget is something both Democrats and Republicans can join together on. For 2016-2017 the Budget includes a net increase of $394 million and includes $80 million specifically for targeted investments in the developmental service system. This $80 million will be used in order to help align provider rates closer to where they were prior to the recession.
â€œGiven the limited supply of housing available in the state and its impact in increasing the cost of housing, dollars invested in helping people attain safe and affordable housing are greatly needed to increase supply which in effect will help decrease costs. Last year I worked on two bills aimed at addressing the housing needs of the state. One bill would have effectively increased tax credits for farmworker housing projects to $25 million from $5 million, and the other proposed changes to the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Program by requiring 20% of funds in the program to be allocated to rural communities in the state. Although access to safe and affordable housing will continue to be a challenge in our state, I am glad the Governor is taking modest measures to help families attain a home.â€
ON ECONOMIC OUTLOOK:
“Given that we are now in our seventh year of the state’s economic expansion, it is vital that state policies and programs be reviewed to assess how they contribute to reducing the state’s current economic disparities,” said Garcia, who chairs JEDE. “Key elements of the Governor’s proposed budget will help the state to make further investments toward poverty alleviation, career technical education, and infrastructure repair and development.”