Former California Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado, who is weighing a gubernatorial bid, faulted Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed budget for failing to include provisions that would spur job creation and improve the business climate.
“Too many Californians are suffering today because our state’s economy is lagging so badly,” Maldonado said in a statement. “Jerry Brown’s budget proposal does little to help our state create the jobs needed so that Californians can continue to live here and not have to look beyond our borders for economic opportunity. It leaves in place the nation’s highest income and sales tax rates. There is no meaningful reform of a byzantine tax system.”
Brown on Thursday morning unveiled a $155-billion budget proposal that would increase general fund spending by more than 8%, to $106.8 billion. With his administration projecting a $4.2-billion surplus at the end of June, Brown called for setting up a $1.6-billion rainy day reserve fund, and for paying down $11 billion of the state’s debt. The proposal calls for a new $10-billion infusion into schools and community colleges to help make up for years of cutbacks, $1 billion in new money for higher education to ward off new tuition increases, and $670 million more for the state’s public healthcare system to deal with new enrollees because of the federal healthcare overhaul.
Maldonado, a Republican, said Brown failed to include measures that would save money, such as allowing schools to contract out non-instructional services or allowing local governments to use non-union contractors on public works projects without punishment.
“Each of these areas, and many more, are opportunities to reform so the high taxes Californians are forced to pay are spent more efficiently. But there’s no room for that in Jerry Brown’s administration,” Maldonado said. “As governor, I will work to reform and simplify California’s complex tax system. I’ll reduce the burden on the small businesses we need to grow in order to create jobs. I’ll cancel this high-speed rail boondoggle. And I will work every day to make it easier for jobs and opportunity to come back to California, for the benefit of all of our people.”
Earlier in the day, Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, already a GOP gubernatorial candidate, faulted Brown’s plan as short-sighted and failing to deal with the systemic challenges the state faces, notably its gaping pension liability.
Another potential GOP candidate, former investment banker Neel Kashkari, has not weighed in on Brown’s budget proposal.