Bass on Democrat’s Responsible Budget Plan

SACRAMENTO - In this Democratic weekly address, Assembly Speaker Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles) outlines the Democratic budget proposal the Assembly and Senate will vote on next week. They say that while the Democratic budget proposal will have real and painful cuts, it rejects Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s proposals to cut $700 million from schools, eliminate California’s safety net and take Cal Grants away from students.

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Transcript:

Hello, this is Assembly Speaker Karen Bass.

This week the Budget Conference Committee of the Assembly and Senate produced a plan that solves California’s deficit responsibly and still leaves a healthy reserve in place.

The Assembly and Senate will vote on that plan next week.

Our plan is the balanced approach Californians want: Real cuts, limited new revenues and other solutions that help ward off a cash crisis later this summer.

We have accepted the Governor’s realistic proposals to solve the deficit.

But in standing up for California families, we have rejected his over-the-top proposals for eliminating the safety net in California – which would have made California the only government in the first-world without one.

We rejected the Governor’s attempt to squeeze nearly $700 million more from our schools when they have already been cut more than their fair share.

And we rejected his proposal to take Cal Grant scholarships out of the hands of students from hard working families who had already been given the scholarships for September.

Each of these programs will take real and painful cuts. But we will not let these vital services be eliminated for the people of California.

We also found ways to raise revenues responsibly.

Our plan levies a severance tax on oil companies finally placing California on par with the rest of the nation’s oil producing states. Our proposal is the same tax level the Governor pushed in January and won’t affect individual consumers.

We also raise the tobacco tax by $1.50 so consumers who voluntarily smoke can help address the impact that tobacco has on health care and other aspects of the state budget.

There is shared pain in this budget, but it is fair.

I encourage all Californians to take a close look at both our plan and the governor’s proposal.

You can do that at http://www.assembly.CA.GOV/budget.

Looking at them side by side, I’m sure you’ll agree the legislature’s responsible, balanced approach is what we need to get California through these difficult times.

This has been Assembly Speaker Karen Bass.

Thank you for listening.