Mixed Reactions From Bay Area Representatives After $156 Billion State Budget Passes

California lawmakers approved the 2014-15 state budget of roughly $156 billion Sunday prompting varied reactions from Bay Area representatives.

Assemblymember Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, the Chair of the Assembly Democratic Caucus said in a statement Sunday evening that he is excited to see that the budget includes large investments in education and infrastructure for Californians.

Assembly Budget Chair Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, said in a statement Sunday evening that the budget “contains the largest investment in early care and education in over a decade, setting the path for universal pre-school as well as significant improvements in childcare quality and availability.”

Ting said the budget also “improves care for our seniors, citizens living with disabilities and veterans.”

He said the budget reflects the state’s commitment to the development of sustainable housing, affordable housing and high-speed rail as well.

Of the state’s infrastructure investment of $1.3 billion, Skinner said it would generate jobs and fund local improvements to streets and roads, affordable housing, courts, state parks and other facilities.

Skinner said the budget includes funding for transitional housing, mental health programs, job training and community-based support services for former offenders.

She said that while she is pleased that the budget pays down a portion of the state’s long-term debt, contributes to rainy day reserves and puts California on solid fiscal footing, she believes there were many initiatives that were not supported in the budget.

Skinner said that among the important initiatives not included in the budget was restoration of Medi-Cal provider rates and low levels of state investment in higher education.

She said the 2014-15 state budget adopted Sunday “makes meaningful expenditures that will touch the lives of each and every Californian. I’m confident we’ve laid the framework for continued and progressive investment into the future.”

Assemblymember Rich Gordon, D-Menlo Park, said that he was happy to cast his votes in support of the budget. Gordon said the incorporation of the Self-Generating Incentive Program (SGIP), will attract investment, innovation, and green jobs to California.

The program will provide incentives to support existing, new and emerging distributed energy resources such as wind turbines, fuel cells and advanced energy storage systems.

Hannah Albarazi, Bay City News

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