The following exclusive column was just sent our way…
Assembly Republicans Propose ‘Roadmap to a No Tax Increase Budget’
By Assembly Republican Leader Connie Conway
Today, I sent a letter [Download Letter: Budget Letter to Speaker 051211 FINAL0001] to Speaker Pérez on behalf of Assembly Republicans, laying out what we are calling our “Roadmap to a No Tax Increase Budget.”
We have heard a constant drumbeat from Sacramento liberals that sky will fall unless the voters agree to a $55 billion tax increase. This is a myth. In fact, they want you to pay a massive tax hike so they can grow government by 31 percent. This shows how out of touch liberals really are with working families.
When I’m in the grocery store or at community events, my constituents tell me that they want their hard-earned tax dollars to go to the essentials, such as good local schools for their kids and ensuring police and sheriffs have the tools they need to keep us safe. They don’t want their tax dollars wasted on inefficient, big government programs.
Our “Roadmap to a No Tax Increase Budget” is all about getting our budget priorities focused on what really matters, bringing in new revenue by creating jobs and helping state government live within its means again. Our plan shows that we can balance the budget and protect core priorities – without raising taxes.
Specifically, our Assembly Republican budget roadmap would:
Protect Education – Assembly Republicans are concerned about the impact the budget will have on classroom dollars. The announcement that California has brought in $2.5 billion in new tax revenue is good news. Assembly Republicans will insist that this “real money in the bank” is used to fully fund the Constitutional minimum funding guarantee for schools.
Democrats, in contrast, have proposed an additional $4.1 billion cut to K-12 education, and $847 million in cuts to higher education. Assembly Republicans will fight any attempt by Democrats to suspend the Proposition 98 constitutional funding guarantee.
Ensure State Workers Contribute Their Fair Share – In these tough times, state government must also cut back. Local governments, school districts and the private sector have had to reduce their workforce. It is astonishing that Democrats actually want people to pay higher taxes so they can grow our state workforce by 1,000 new government workers and shield public employees from budget cuts.
Government workers must also be asked to contribute to a budget solution. Our roadmap includes $1.1 billion in budget savings from the state workforce. It’s also time to enact public employee pension reform. We must address out-of-control pension costs before they bust the budget. Every dollar we spend on pension is money we don’t have for our schools and other essential services.
Keep Californians Safe – Our roadmap also provides $500 million to support law enforcement programs that would have been funded through the Democrats’ proposed car tax increase. We also reject Governor Brown’s dangerous public safety realignment plan. Californians shouldn’t have to live in fear because the state is facing budget problems. By providing zero funding for this scheme, our plan would stop the potential early release of dangerous criminals into our communities.
Eliminate Waste and Abuse , Reduce Program Costs — With vital programs on the budget chopping block, taxpayers are demanding that their tax dollars be spent as wisely and efficiently as possible. By adopting proposals to end waste and abuse in areas like Medi-Cal eligibility and inmate health care, we can save nearly $1 billion collectively. Enacting reforms to increase efficiency and introduce competition, such as allowing agencies to contract out for non-essential services, would save $1.2 billion collectively.
Adopt Remaining Solutions Proposed by Governor Brown – It is ironic that Governor Brown has proposed additional budget cuts and program savings that lawmakers in the Governor’s own party have failed to enact. If Jerry Brown actually wants to cut government spending, Republicans are happy to help him accomplish his goal. Our roadmap includes many of the Governor’s proposals, which would save up to $3.2 billion.
Our “Roadmap to a No Tax Increase Budget” is only part of the equation. To get California on the road to recovery, we must also work to reform state government, address unsustainable gold-plated public employee pensions and bring back private sector jobs to our state. We will continue to fight for these reforms to get California on the road to economic recovery.
Now the budget debate truly begins in Sacramento. Democrats want to raise your taxes by $55 billion so they can fund bigger government and more giveaways to public employee unions. Republicans want to balance the budget without raising taxes, while protecting the priorities of working families like education and public safety. The choice is clear, and Assembly Republicans will fight hard on behalf of hard-working California taxpayers every step of the way.
Assembly Republican Leader Connie Conway, of Tulare, represents the 34th Assembly District in the California Legislature.