Local representatives respond to State of the State

January 24, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
Governor Jerry Brown delivered his state of the state address Thursday, declaring California has done the impossible by balancing the budget.

Governor Brown praised the improvements he's seen in the past two years and then laid out his plan for California's future. Several of his proposals would have a big impact on Valley families.

Governor Jerry Brown (D) began his 2013 State of the State address by saying California has proved critics wrong. "We have wrought in just two years, a solid and enduring budget. And by God, we will persevere and keep it that way for years to come."

Brown says the state has overcome years of multi-billion dollar deficits thanks in large part to the passage of Proposition 30, which temporarily raises income and sales taxes. He's now promoting fiscal restraint, while also pushing for some big projects that would have a direct impact on the Valley.

Those include two 30 mile long tunnels to help move water through the San Joaquin Delta -- at a price of about $14-billion.

"If the Delta fails, the disaster would be comparable to Hurricane Katrina or Superstorm Sandy; losses of at least $100-billion and 40-thousand jobs. I'm going to do whatever I can to make sure that does not happen," said Brown.

The governor also touted the high speed rail, which is set to break ground this year. The project has Valley Republicans concerned. "It will be financed with billions of dollars worth of debt, but if it's going to come through the Central Valley, folks up here better pay attention to our farmers and small business owners who have to deal with the consequences," said Assm. Jim Patterson, (R) Fresno.

But some of Brown's education proposals have the support of local legislators on both sides of the aisle -- including his call to fund K through 12 schools based on their level of need.

"Communities in the Central Valley are not funded the way they should be because we have challenges in Fresno that a lot of communities don't have," said Assm. Henry T. Perea (D), Fresno.

Lawmakers from both parties gave the governor a standing ovation for his stance on the Cal State and UC systems, when he said tuition increases are not the answer. "I will not let students become the default financiers of our colleges and universities."

North Valley Democrat Adam Gray agrees. "We need to make the investments in what is the finest public university system in the world and that means spending the money to build the campuses, supporting the campuses and also holding the system accountable to not just pass that cost on to the students," said Assm. Adam Gray (D) Merced.

Governor Brown did not discuss dealing with the effects of prison realignment during his address. Republican State Senator Tom Berryhill said the governor should look into more funding to help local jails deal with prison realignment -- a topic Brown barely mentioned in Brown's speech.

"Realignment still I think especially for Fresno and everywhere else in the 14th Senate District is a real problem. I think we've got to let some of that money follow these prisoners down to the locals so we can keep them in," said State Sen. Tom Berryhill,(R) Modesto.


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