After almost a half-decade of decline in funding for K-12 and Higher Education in California, Gov. Jerry Brown’s new budget proposal includes a boost in funding that will have an impact on every student who is attending school in the Golden State. This increased investment in education, coupled with a state budget proposal that is nearly balanced, offers hope that our state is on a path toward economic stability if Gov. Brown and the Legislature will also address key issues that are holding back our economy.

The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce is delighted to see an increase in appropriations for the California Community College, California State University, and University of California systems. We applaud the increase in Cal Grant funding levels to reflect increased participation by California Dream Act eligible students and Gov. Brown’s commitment to limiting student fee increases.

We also commend Gov. Brown for putting forth a higher education agenda that is focused on improving the quality of California’s higher education system with reforms to enhance the delivery of instruction and decrease the time it takes to complete a degree. As the sponsor of SB 1143, which led to the creation of the California Community College Student Success Taskforce, the Chamber is particularly supportive of alignment changes like the five-year phase-in of reforms to provide higher education with fiscal incentives to focus on the completion of a degree or certificate rather than enrollment alone.

Gov. Brown has recommended Proposition 98 funding of $56.2 billion for 2013-14, an increase of $2.7 billion over revised funding levels for the 2012-13 year. This new funding will allow districts to improve classroom instruction by expanding teaching and support personnel, and by investing in facilities and instructional materials.

California was a leader in education for decades and it’s time to rededicate ourselves to that same leadership role. We envision 2013-14 as the beginning of new investments in strengthening and restoring half a decade of cuts in education, early childhood and development programs. We pledge to Gov. Brown and the Legislature our support for the priorities included in his budget and we encourage our members to express their individual support as well. California’s future is dependent on the quality of the education we are providing to the students in our schools. So too, is the future of the businesses that our members own and operate.