Assemblyman Frank Bigelow (R-O’Neals) voted today (June 14) against the budget compromise crafted by Governor Brown and legislative Democrats. Bigelow said the plan fails to control overall spending or address long-term debt and that Republicans were shut out of the process.
“As a rancher and small business owner, each and every year I budget for the future. I take into account upcoming projects and how employees and overall business health and longevity will be affected by my budgeting decisions,” Bigelow said. “This budget doesn’t address the needs of rural Californians or the ideas that Republicans have put forward to save for the future and pay down our massive state debt.”
Bigelow also noted that as a freshman member of the legislature and chair of the bi-partisan legislative rural caucus he has made a concerted effort to work with members of both parties to craft solutions for the future.
“It is mighty disappointing to see that legislative Democrats have not only shut us out of the process, but have completely ignored Sacramento’s spending problem,” Bigelow said. “As a local government leader, my colleagues and I would join together regardless of party to do what was best for the people we served. It is unfortunate that Sacramento can’t adopt that same willingness to work together for all Californians.”
Bigelow said that two of his most important focuses since heading to Sacramento have been protecting rural education funding and making a college education affordable for all students. He has co-authored and supported a number of bills to freeze tuition at all public colleges and restore full Cal Grant awards for thousands of college students. However, according to Bigelow, the Democrat budget rejects those ideas and instead substitutes a new college scholarship entitlement program that will not be funded until the 2014-2015 budget year.
“Furthermore, this new program does nothing to prevent future tuition hikes,” Bigelow said.
Bigelow feels his focus on K-12 education in rural California was completely disregarded in this unbalanced budget.
“This budget reduces the debt repayment to schools by $676 million and utilizes one-time money to try and make an unbalanced budget look solvent,” Bigelow said. “Effectively kicking the can down the road, the state will still owe this money to education, but the obligation will be pushed back another year to pay for more spending, such as locking in future welfare grant increases.”