SACRAMENTO – Against the backdrop of empty school desks, Assemblymembers Noreen Evans (D-Santa Rosa), John A. PÃ©rez (D-Los Angeles), Lori SaldaÃ±a (D-San Diego) and Juan Arambula (D-Fresno) provided an Assembly Democratic Tax Reality Check opposite a so-called “tea party” anti-tax protest outside the Capitol.Â They also unveiled a 150 foot scroll listing state budget cuts made since 2003 to show that even more severe cuts to schools and other basic programs would be required without the new revenues that were part of the 2009-2010 budget agreement.
“The people of California support teachers and students more than teabags and stunts,” said Evans, Chair of the Assembly Budget Committee.Â “And I think most Californians are going to ignore sideshows and understand it will take hard work and difficult choices to continue guiding the state through this unprecedented recession.”
“Today’s protestors need a history lesson because they are hijacking the legacy of the Boston Tea Party,” said PÃ©rez, Chair of the Assembly Democratic Caucus.Â “That historic protest opposed taxation without representation, not taxes. Â In 2009, the 2/3 budget requirement is the 21st Century equivalent of taxation without representation — and that’s what the people of California should be working to repeal so a minority can not hold the majority of the state hostage.”
Until February’s bipartisan budget agreement was enacted, California’s budget had only been balanced through cuts.Â In fact, since 2003, $26.7 billion in cuts have been made across a number of state programs.Â Each of these cuts was listed on the scroll unveiled today.Â For a copy of these cuts and photos of today’s event, click this link.
“For 30 years California’s per-pupil funding has consistently been below the national average.” said SaldaÃ±a, Assembly Speaker pro Tempore.Â “The people of California want good schools.Â They want students who can graduate and provide a strong workforce for our business community.”
Schools get the biggest slice, about 40 percent, of California’s state budget.Â Therefore, the cuts-only approach advocated by anti-tax advocates and their Republican allies to balance California’s budget would inevitably require enormous cuts to education.Â And, prior to the education cuts that were made in the February budget agreement, California already ranked among the lowest of states in resources devoted to education.
“People outside are protesting money spent for federal economic stimulus,” said Arambula, Chair of the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Administration.Â “That federal stimulus is going to be directly responsible for helping unemployed families in my district and families throughout California receive extended unemployment benefits during this unprecedented crisis.Â That also puts money into local economies through landlords and grocers and clothing stores and so on.”
With recent projections showing a downturn in state revenues and key components of the state’s budget subject to the May 19th special election, Evans noted that the Assembly Democrats will hold a budget summit this Thursday to plot solutions for a number of possible scenarios facing California’s finances in the coming months.
Click on the following links for audio clips from today’s press conference:
Assembly Budget Committee Chair Noreen Evans says tax revenues pay for the programs and infrastructure Californians need and want.
Assembly Budget Committee Chair Noreen Evans says more than $26-billion have been cut from the state budgets over the past few years.
Assembly Budget Committee Chair Noreen Evans says the tax day protestors’ bumper sticker slogans are not the kind of leadership California needs.
Assemblymember John A. PÃ©rez says the super majority two-thirds budget vote requirement has hurt California.
Assemblymember Lori SaldaÃ±a says Democrats want to invest in Californian’s children and future.
Assemblymember Juan Arambula says lawmakers have a responsibility to assist those who need help from the state.