Assemblymembers Evans and Monning Highlight Democratic Budget Initiatives

December 12, 2008

Contact: Jody Fujii @ (916) 319-2027

SACRAMENTO – In this week’s Democratic weekly radio address, Assembly Budget Chair Noreen Evans (D-Santa Rosa) and Assemblymember Bill Monning (D-Santa Cruz) provide an important update on California’s growing budget crisis and highlight the solutions Democrats are producing to solve it.


Hi, this is Assembly Budget Chair Noreen Evans with an important update about California’s budget crisis.

California’s budget deficit is growing. What we once thought was an $11-billion problem is now estimated to be closer to $15-billion during the current fiscal year. If we include the next fiscal year our deficit is estimated at $40-billion and growing.

Democrats stand ready to make tough but fair choices needed to address this challenge.

This week we were busy working to identify solutions to this crisis and what assistance may be available to us.

On Monday during an historic joint convention of the Legislature our state's top fiscal experts delivered a simple message loud and clear: the Legislature and the Governor must act to fix the budget gap, and we must act now.

State Treasurer Bill Lockyer said that without immediate action to address diminished state revenues and to instill confidence in California’s bond market, funds for state infrastructure projects will be depleted within the next week.

At an Assembly Budget Committee hearing on Thursday, state transportation experts laid out in chilling detail what the Treasurer’s dire warning really means: road, school and flood protection projects up and down the state will be delayed or not even started. The state’s ability to stimulate our economy through infrastructure development will be crippled. And 58-thousand jobs will immediately be at risk.

This is why immediate action to address our budget crisis is so important. Democrats are leaving no solution behind to steer California towards economic recovery.

In addition to leading budget negotiations in Sacramento, Speaker Karen Bass and I also traveled to Washington DC this week to see if federal dollars can help our state budget. Congress is currently considering an economic stimulus package for the states. We met with key members of Congress to ask for federal dollars to be increased in infrastructure projects statewide.

We also asked them make sure California receives the same Medicaid reimbursement rate that other states do.

Additionally, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program and unemployment insurance assistance must be adequately funded as workers lose their jobs and children lose their health coverage.

Furthermore, California needs a renewed federal commitment to education, flood protection and food stamp funding. We must prevent hunger in a state which feeds the nation.

All of these things would put California on a more equitable footing in regards to how much other states receive in federal funds. This would go along way to helping solve our budget problems.

With the vast majority of our state deficit created by the Wall Street collapse and national recession, a comprehensive set of both state and national budget solutions is needed. And time is running out. But Assembly Democrats are rising to the challenges ahead.

This has been Assembly Budget Chair Noreen Evans with an important message from the Assembly Democrats. Thanks for listening.