Both Assemblyman Dante Acosta (R-Santa Clarita) and Assemblyman Tom Lackey (R-Palmdale) expressed concern this week with Governor Jerry Brown’s revised budget.
Rather than wholly slamming the budget, both assemblymen made specific points as to why they had concerns with it.
Particularly regarding money being diverted into the general fund that was planned to go elsewhere, Acosta and Lackey said they disagreed with Brown’s decision.
“We need to keep the promises we make to Californians, not divert money from established projects citizens clearly care about,” Acosta said in a statement.
When Proposition 56 was passed, funds from tobacco products were supposed to go toward low income health services, including Medi-Cal and Denti-Cal.
In Brown’s budget revision, there is no mention of increasing provider reimbursement rates to give more access to either. Instead, tobacco funds will go into the Medi-Cal general fund, which it would have done whether or not Prop 56 passed.
Additionally, Prop 55 passed and guaranteed that extended taxes on high-income Californians would go toward schools and health care. Under Brown’s new budget, half of this revenue will go to schools and the other half appears to be going into the general fund instead of health care.
“Voters were promised that these tax revenues would be used to pay for health care, dental care and education, yet the Governor’s plan ignores that and redirects it for other purposes,” Lackey said in a statement.
Lackey also criticized the budget’s lack of funding to train frontline peace officers. He said as crime increases, training should be a fiscal priority.
However, Brown’s decision to make a “$6 billion down payment” on the state’s $200 billion of unfunded liabilities was a good decision because paying off future debt is smarter than creating new programs, Lackey said.
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