In the past few weeks, Californians’ taxes have increased and take-home pay has fallen. Many of us are left wondering what Governor Jerry Brown will say tomorrow during his State of the State Address. What will he focus on? Will he talk about sacrifices and hardships faced by so many across this state? Or will he say California has turned the economic corner? We heard a lot of talk about how California’s budget issues are well on their way to being permanently solved when he released his budget. But, is that really the case?
There are still millions of Californians who are unemployed or underemployed. Does it feel like our state has turned the corner? California still has nearly 1.8 million people who need a job. That doesn’t include the countless numbers of people who are working in jobs that pay less than what is needed to pay the mortgage and other expenses because it’s the only job that’s available.
The Governor will thank the people of California for the $50 billion in new taxes they voted for. Of course, he promised that money would to go to support the children in elementary school and high school and would help stabilize the cost of a college education at the University of California, California State University, and our community colleges.
Unfortunately, despite his campaign promises, this year Governor Brown plans to only give education $3.2 billion in new funding from the estimated $6.25 billion the state expects to collect. The rest is being used for things like pay raises for state employees and automatically expanding government programs without much oversight.
While California’s economic picture has gotten a little better than in the last several years, the recovery has been much slower than the rest of the country. Even though our state’s economy is slowly recovering, legislative members are not showing much restraint in keeping taxes and fees at current levels and that could stop the recovery cold.
If California’s economic prosperity is truly going to make a comeback, Governor Brown should focus on what this state can and must do to help lift people from poverty. We must give parents an opportunity to send their kids to high-performing schools, reinstitute California’s Healthy Families program, and focus on keeping good paying, mortgage-supporting jobs from being shut down or moved to other states.
California was the “Golden State” to the entire country because it was the example of prosperity through hard work. Sadly, in the last few decades, millions of Californians have moved out of our state than have moved in. Much worse for our future, young Californians are moving to other states to seek prosperity because fewer and fewer are finding it here.
Republicans stand ready to work with the Governor – to find common ground not only to help those looking for a good-paying job today, but to ensure our young people have hope for prosperity that includes good pay, opportunity for home ownership, and a future limited only by their dreams.
Follow Senator Huff on Twitter @bobhuff99