(SACRAMENTO) – Assemblymember Mark Stone (D-Monterey Bay), Chair of the Assembly Human Services Committee, has released the following statement on the passage of the state budget:
“This balanced, on-time, fiscally responsible budget fulfills many priorities of Californians by investing in public schools, making college more affordable, and effectively implementing the federal healthcare law. It reflects a remarkable level of fiscal discipline in that it eliminates the structural deficit and provides for a rainy day fund that voters will have an opportunity to approve.
Although I would have preferred to see greater restoration of important programs for our neediest and most vulnerable families, this budget takes steps to restore some of the worst program cuts enacted in previous budgets. It modestly increases benefits provided by the CalWORKS program, and it also increases funds to critical subsidized child care for working families.
Through the new Local Control Funding Formula, we are improving educational outcomes for students by investing additional funds in all of our schools. Over time, the budget will restore funding to levels before the worst cuts during the recession. And the state will provide funding for academic accountability considerations, ensuring that all of our schools serve all of our students, rather than letting some kids fall through the cracks.
Nevertheless, there remains room for improvement, especially with regard to protecting our environment. I am frustrated with the diversion of $500 million in cap-and-trade funds to the General Fund, which shores up the budget with borrowed funds that were reserved for projects to reduce greenhouse emissions. Local economies would have benefitted, and emissions would have been reduced more quickly, had the money been allocated there.
Overall, my voice, and by extension, the voices of my constituents in the 29th Assembly District, was heard throughout the budget process.”