With this new state budget, California will once again see record state spending at a time when many Californians are struggling with a skyrocketing cost of living and among the highest taxes in the nation.
We are fortunate to have a record high $21.5 billion surplus, but we should resist the temptation to create new government programs and expand others.
Instead, we should be focusing on improving our government’s core services such as K-12 education.
While this budget exacts a modest increase in funding for our struggling schools, we’re still near the bottom in school spending when our high cost of living is factored in. That is why California has the lowest teacher-to-student ratio of any state in the country.
Unfortunately, the Legislature also approved a massive expansion to Medi-Cal, a health care program that is systemically broken and already fails to fulfill its promise to the California residents it is meant to serve. Expanding this program before fixing its existing problems is a huge disservice to the most vulnerable Californians, many of whom currently have little access to care.
Californians deserve better than a budget that expands the size of state government without fixing the basic problems that plague our state.
(Jay Obernolte (R-Hesperia) is the Assembly Budget Committee vice chair.)