Governor Jerry Brown released his 2015-16 proposed State Budget on January 10th and started the Legislature’s six-month review of the $113.3 billion proposed state spending plan. Overall, General Fund spending in 2015-16 is expected to grow in percentage terms only slightly from 2014-15 to 2015-16, largely due to a big boost in education spending in the current year generated by additional revenues.
From the time of the enactment of the 2014-15 Budget until now, state revenues are up by about $4 billion and the bulk of the state’s revenue growth will be invested in K-12 education, the bedrock of the state’s future and the key to its children’s successful ability to compete for good jobs. The Governor proposes $65.7 billion in total K-12 education spending in 2015-16.
In addition, the proposal includes a deposit of $1.2 billion to the Budget Stabilization Account, as well as continues to pay down budgetary debt from prior years. The fiscal position of the 2015-16 budget benefits from past years of spending restraint, temporary taxes approved by the voters in 2012, and a steadily improving state economy resulting in increased revenues.
Other highlights of the spending plan include budgetary increases for childcare, All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly, affordable housing, Cal Grants, and the state court system.
The first overview hearing by the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee will be held on Thursday, January 22, 2015. Following that preliminary hearing, the five Budget Subcommittees will thoroughly review all aspects of the Governor’s proposed 2015-16 Budget. As in the past, I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Legislature and with the Governor’s Office to develop a sound fiscal roadmap. As budget negotiations begin we must continue to look ahead to invest in the future for all Californians.
#Agua4All Press Conference about Childhood Health and Sugar Sweetened Beverages
On January 7th, I was joined by celebrity chef and healthy food advocate, Jamie Oliver, and the California Endowment on the steps of the State Capitol to increase public awareness about the need to improve access to clean drinking water and reduce the overconsumption of sugar sweetened beverages.
In California, more than 2.5 million K-12 students do not have access to clean drinking water during school mealtimes. Without clean drinking water, the nearest and most affordable drinks are often sugary drinks.
At the press conference, the California Endowment, along with community partners, announced the installation of 120 new water filtration stations in schools, starting at the end of this month. The event also drew attention to the diabetes and obesity epidemic in California and called for support of a healthier California through community action and public policy.
Daniel Zingale, Senior Vice President for Healthy California with the California Endowment; Celebrity Chef and Health Food Advocate Jamie Oliver; and Senator Monning.
Honored as the Clean Water Champion by Clean Water Action
At the beginning of the month, I was presented with the Clean Water Champion award from Clean Water Action, a national organization with the mission of protecting the environment, health, economic well-being, and community quality of life. Its goals include clean, safe and affordable water; prevention of health threatening pollution; creation of environmentally safe jobs and businesses; and empowerment of people to make democracy work.
This award honors Legislators who are advocates for improving water quality and the quality of life in California during the 2013-14 Legislative Session. Thank you to Clean Water Action for presenting me with this honor.
Senator Monning with Andria Ventura, Clean Water Action Program Manager.
Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance Luncheon
As many of you may know, agriculture and viticulture are two of the largest industries within the 17th Senate District. Prior to the holidays, I met with wine industry members in the Paso Robles basin area to discuss issues currently facing this dynamic industry. It was a pleasure to be educated about the basics of winemaking and viticulture, and I appreciated the discussion we had about the passage of Assembly Bill 2453 (Chapter 350, Statutes of 2014), which allows for the establishment of an oversight board to regulate groundwater in the Paso Robles basin.
Senator Monning speaking to the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance Board Members.
Rockrose Gardens Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
In early December, I had the honor to speak at the ribbon cutting for Interim Inc.’s newest affordable housing project, which provides supportive services for individuals who have psychiatric disabilities. Rockrose Gardens housing complex, in the City of Marina, provides 20 units of permanent, affordable housing for adults with chronic mental illness. These individuals are among the most vulnerable and underserved populations in the mental and behavioral health community. As a staunch supporter of comprehensive services for the mental health community, I applaud Interim Inc. and its partners’ efforts for creating this needed housing.
Meeting with Driscoll Executives to on State Agriculture and Water
I recently met with Miles Reiter, Driscoll’s Chairman & CEO, as well as Kelley Bell, Driscoll’s Vice President of Community and Environmental Initiatives, and Tom O’Brien, Driscoll’s General Counsel, to discuss the effects of the drought on the agricultural community in the Pajaro Valley. Our conversation was driven by the fact that Santa Cruz County is solely dependent on groundwater and surface water resources. It is imperative that we invest in local and statewide water infrastructure that will help agriculture continue to thrive in a sustainable manner.
Thank you for taking the time to read my newsletter.
Best wishes for a peaceful and healthy 2015.
William W. Monning
Senator, 17th District