Assemblymember Jim Wood Responds to Governor Brown’s May Revise State Budget

For immediate release:

SACRAMENTO–Governor Brown announced his May Revise State Budget today and he remains consistent in his prudent approach and belief that an eventual recession is on the horizon.

“I remain focused on the many challenging issues facing the people in the 2nd Assembly District,” said Assemblymember Jim Wood (D-Santa Rosa), “and although this May Revision of the State Budget addresses many of them, I still think we’re coming up short.”

“The devastating fires that blew through the North Bay and North Coast areas last year, have destroyed many homes, businesses, and sadly lives,” said Wood. “It exposed so many gaps in how we respond and prevent disasters and we have to address them.”

Earlier this year Wood introduced AB 2551 which would access $250 million from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund to be used to improve forest management and reduce wildfire risks, and that bill has been moving through the process. “Yesterday I was pleased to see the Governor’s Executive Order which responds to that effort,” said Wood. “The executive order allocates $96 million in addition to the $160 million in the proposed budget in January for forest thinning and watershed management – that aligns exactly with what we’ve been fighting for all along in my bill.”

The Governor’s budget provides $33 million to help cities and counties backfill for lost property taxes with most going to Northern California, including helping schools recover from a loss in funding. It also provides $29 million to waive the local match for Northern California counties’ costs of debris removal and $50 million to help restore public real property and repay local governments for part of the costs associated with emergency response. “Our cities and counties did what they needed to do, and then some, to respond to these wildfires,” said Wood, “and they are due to be repaid for their valiant efforts.”

The Governor’s budget reflects limited investment in health care. “We continue to be disappointed by the lack of investment our Governor has made in improving health care in this state,” said Wood. “We know Californians have a high level of anxiety about their health care, or lack of, and I have continued to push, with many of my colleagues, to make health care a priority. Just last week the Assembly announced a $1 billion funding package to make health care premiums more affordable for low- and middle-income folks, to expand Medi-Cal and make changes that allow aged, blind and disabled people to more easily qualify for care. The funds necessary to make those critical improvements are not in the Governor’s Budget. The Assembly, on the other hand, has made health care a priority and we will continue to fight for our $1 billion funding package as budget discussions continue in the coming weeks."

The Governor’s budget proposes $359 million in new spending to address homelessness and $312 million for mental health services. “I appreciate the funding increases the Governor’s Budget provides to address homelessness and mental health,” said Wood. “We have too many people with addiction and mental health challenges in our region and the counties and cities need funding to address the problems in a way that works the best for their community. However, this cautious one-time funding approach does not provide us with the long-term investments we need to address these issues head on.”

CSU is asking for an additional $171 million. “I appreciate the need for more funding,” said Wood, “but we also know that students can’t afford any more tuition hikes. The Governor made it clear in his remarks today that the amount of any tuition hikes would be withheld from their overall funding.” 

Cannabis tax revenue is lower than expected, according to the Governor’s budget. “Although the Governor’s office expects an increase in revenues by June, I believe it may be necessary to reassess the tax structure to ensure that the industry is paying a reasonable amount.”

“My overall reaction to the Governor’s revised budget is that a prudent, one-time funding approach is not a strategy and it cannot solve the challenges we are facing in our communities and across the state. While it may get the ball rolling, we need a longer term commitment to get us where we need to be,” said Wood.