Local lawmakers respond to State of the State address

SACRAMENTO

Governor Brown is once again calling for temporary tax cuts to help deal with the budget deficit. That's one of many issues Valley legislators disagree upon.

Governor Jerry Brown says California is on the mend with a budget deficit that's a fraction of the 20 billion dollar hole the state faced last year. But he still believes it's necessary for voters to approve temporary tax increases to help fund schools and public safety programs.

"As for the initiative, it is fair. It is temporary. It is half of what people were paying in 2010," said Governor Jerry Brown (D) California.

But the governor's tax proposal is drawing mixed reactions from Valley legislators.

"We can't afford to cut our schools and our public safety anymore. That's why we need the tax extension," said State Senator Michael Rubio (D) Shafter.

"The governor wants to be optimistic, and I think so do the taxpayers of the State of California, but putting more taxes on them, a burden on them I don't think is the way to make California feel more optimistic," said Assm. Connie Conway (R) Tulare.

Despite the tough economy, Governor Brown says the high speed rail is a wise investment for California. "President Obama strongly supports the project and has provided the majority of funds for this first phase."

"His support for high speed rail concerns me. He talked about how there's a lot of money coming in from the feds, but it's only 3 percent," said Assm. David Valadao (R) Hanford.

The governor is also pushing lawmakers to move forward with a plan to address the state's water issues -- something both Republicans and Democrats say is a top priority.

"This is the year we have to pass the water bond, so there's talk of opening it up, there's talks about changing it. That water bond is historic in nature, and we need to get it passed," said State Sen. Anthony Cannella (R) Ceres.

One other note from the governor's speech that could impact schools across the Valley: He says he wants to see fewer tests and get results to teachers and superintendents faster.

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