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California Democrats Seek To Spend More on Education, Welfare

May 31, 2013

Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Revenues are up in California, and many legislative Democrats want to use the money to restore previous funding cuts. But Republicans say now is not the time. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento.

The Senate and Assembly are working to combine their proposed budgets into one bill. Democrats say, after years of cuts, it’s time to use increased revenues to make some investments in social, health and educational programs. Assembly Budget Chair Bob Blumenfield wants to see the Middle Class Scholarship program funded. It would reduce tuition costs for some UC and CSU students.

“We know that it’s not only the right thing to do, but it’s the fiscally prudent thing to do because it’s going to help us into the future. The number one businesses say that they need is an educated workforce,” says Blumenfield.

Democratic Assemblywomen Holly Mitchell wants to eliminate the cap on state welfare grants families can receive.

“I think it would be incredibly short-sighted if we didn’t acknowledge what the lack of investment today would cost us down the road,” says Mitchell.

But proposals such as these would increase spending by hundreds of millions of dollars. That’s something Republican Assembly Budget Vice-Chair Jeff Gorell says neither his party, nor Governor Jerry Brown, support.

“I think it undermines the caution that we are trying to convey, and the governor has purported in his budget plan, that we can’t overspend,” says Gorell.

The legislature faces a June 15th budget deadline.