Statement by State Senator John Laird (D-Santa Cruz) on Governor’s Budget Proposal

SACRAMENTO – The chair of the Senate Budget Subcommittee on Education Sen. John Laird (D-Santa Cruz) made the following statement today on Gov. Gavin Newsom’s January budget proposal for 2021-22:

“I want to thank Gov. Newsom and his staff for their work so far on presenting a realistic draft spending blueprint for the 2021-22 fiscal year. As with the governor, I very much look forward to working with him and his team as California faces unprecedented challenges in getting back on track. This budget wisely commits to assistance for small businesses, greater support for public health programs, a good working plan to reopen schools, as well as addressing non-COVID related threats like climate change impacts.

I am pleased with the governor's emphasis on safely reopening schools and feel this plan is a good place to work from. I know teachers, non-teaching staff, parents, and administrators have many concerns, so I look forward to working with all of those parties to make sure they are heard and priorities are addressed. What is certain is that getting teachers vaccinated sooner rather than later will help get California on the right path to recovery, and ensure our students aren’t left behind due to COVID-19. Getting all students safely back into the classroom will remain a top priority.

While we confront this once-in-a-lifetime crisis and the many challenges it brings, we must also be mindful to manage the many other challenges we face like the near year-round wildfire season that is caused by climate change. The governor’s spending proposal for wildfires – both for fighting and preventing fires – is well conceived. I know myself and the residents in my district who were terrorized by fires in 2020 will be carefully scrutinizing this part of the budget.

I do want to applaud the governor for not overlooking one of California’s most vulnerable populations – the developmentally disabled. Ensuring rate increases for Regional Centers for most services to continue past their 2021 sunset date is simply put the right thing to do. Our moral center and obligation to vulnerable people must never waiver, even during these dire times.

One of my earliest mentors, former Congressman Jerry Waldie (D-California), built the foundation for what later became the Lanterman Act. It is heartening to see his work carry on in the way he envisioned it – caring for, improving the lives of, and ensuring personhood for developmentally disabled people.”

Learn more about the draft 2021-22 state budget here.