(SACRAMENTO) – Assemblymember V. Manuel Pérez released the following statement on the passage of a balanced and on-time state budget today:
For the fourth year in a row, we have delivered to the Governor an on-time and balanced budget for the people of California. It lays a solid foundation for the long-term financial health of our state by paying down $12.4 billion in debt and building a $2.1 billion reserve. It also reflects the agreements we made earlier this year related to the rainy day fund and the teachers retirement system, both of which will help the state handle volatility and plan ahead.
In addition, we were also able to make some investments that help build the future of our state. We made the largest investment in early care in years to improve both quality and availability of child care and preschool services. In K-12 education, we are paying off $6 billion in past deferrals while also making a 10% increase in funding. Higher education funding for the UC and CSU is increased by 5% over last year’s allocation, and funding to our community colleges is also amplified. I think we all wish we could have done even more for higher education, but we continue to trend in the right direction.
Other highlights are that we were able to help our veterans through more outreach and enrollment funds to county veterans’ service offices. In addition, through more funding to courts and for court facilities and well as funding for local police, for the sheriffs for jail space and other facilities, and for recidivism reduction efforts, we help promote safer communities and access to justice.
I’m pleased to have secured $1 million in the state’s Recidivism Reduction Fund for workforce development grants for the re-entry population. The coalition we developed for our workforce training bill AB 2060 was a critical partner in advocating for this funding.
I am also very gratified that Senator Hueso and I were able to secure $1 million in funding to help with the reconstruction of the City of Calexico pool. The facility has been closed since the 2010 earthquake, leaving area residents without a public swimming pool for four years. The lack of a public cooling center has been a serious concern that has placed the public at risk.
Looking back, it’s rewarding to think of how far we’ve come from 2008 and the gut wrenching but necessary cuts we had to make back then. There is always more work to do, but this budget sets us on the path for continued recovery and the growth for our state.