Assemblyman Heath Flora (R-Ripon) – who represents the Oakdale, Riverbank and Escalon areas in Sacramento – issued the following statement on the passage of California’s 2020-21 State Budget on Monday, June 15.
“This is the first time in many years that the Legislature passed their version of the State Budget without the Governor agreeing ahead of time to sign the budget bill when it gets to his desk. The Governor’s Revised Budget released in May was a bad sign of things to come, and the Legislature’s budget still recognizes that the state is facing a $54 billion deficit,” Flora said. “The Legislature’s budget attempts to close this deficit by using a combination of budget deferrals, billions in borrowing, a $4.4 billion tax increase on businesses, and depletion of most of our Rainy Day Fund and other reserves. While we were able to protect vital services this year, unfortunately these budget tricks merely defer difficult decisions about reducing state spending and will only create larger budget deficits in the future.”
Still, Flora added, there have been some positive steps.
“I’m proud that the Legislature has been able to serve as a check on the Executive branch which has been given extraordinary power in the months since the COVID-19 pandemic and economic shutdown began. This budget reasserts our constitutional authority to provide fiscal oversight of state spending. As a coequal branch of government, we have an obligation to ensure that every taxpayer dollar is spent wisely and appropriately,” Flora noted. “The K-14 Education budget bill AB 76 passed with unanimous support so local school districts can backfill revenue lost during the COVID-19 crisis and avoid severe fiscal difficulties as their current budget year ends in two weeks. The $4.4 billion tax increase on businesses also passed the Legislature although I did not support this provision of the budget. This tax will fall directly onto those businesses we are hoping will find a treatment for COVID-19.”
Governor Gavin Newsom has until July 1 to sign or veto the Legislative budget bill.
Flora represents the 12th Assembly District, which includes the communities of Denair, Empire, Escalon, Farmington, Hickman, Hughson, Keyes, Lathrop, Linden, Lockeford, Manteca, Modesto, Oakdale, Ripon, Riverbank, Salida, Turlock, Victor, and Waterford.