Legislators representing the Santa Clarita Valley were displeased with the latest $200 billion California budget for the next fiscal year, which they criticized for leaving out funding for the developmentally disabled.
The state budget was passed Thursday, with $16 billion in reserves and a projected $9 billion surplus.
Assemblyman Tom Lackey, R-Palmdale, said he was most disappointed that funding for individuals with developmental disabilities had been cut significantly.
“My biggest frustration was the fact that a very critical part of our population had a chance to have restored what was taken from them,” he said. “This was an opportunity because we had a surplus of funding. We as elected officials have a due diligence and responsibility to address those who most deserve this extra funding.”
Lackey also said more needed to go to transportation from the budget, especially for commuters in the Santa Clarita Valley.
“When you live in communities that require driving and that puts miles on our cars, those extra dollars they’re trying to squeeze out are critical dollars to budgets,” he said. “It seems strange to me that we’d have to tax citizens more at a time when we have a surplus.”
Assemblyman Dante Acosta, R-Santa Clarita, called the budget a mixed bag.
“While there are some good things such as increasing funding for education and combatting homelessness, there are a lot of disappointing issues, as well,” he said. “We don’t need $5.2 billion a year in new transportation taxes and fees. Our roads are in crisis because the state has historically taken those funds for other things.”
The high cost of Santa Clarita was an indication of the Legislature’s mismanagement of funds, and anger among constituents regarding the Legislature’s enacted gas tax in April 2017 was a good example, Acosta said. He also said that water infrastructure issues remained unaddressed, despite billions of dollars in bonds approved by voters.
“The Legislature, in this budget, has easily found the money for high-speed rail, and to fund the bloated bureaucracy in Sacramento,” he added. “If budgets are a statement of values, then this one is out of touch with our community.”
Sen. Scott Wilk, R-Antelope Valley, said the budget’s surplus should have paid down unfunded pensions or bond debt, instead of taking away money for students, roads and the developmentally disabled.
“It’s Groundhog Day in Sacramento once again,” he said in a statement. “There are good and bad things in the budget, but overall, it ignores the priorities of ordinary Californians and burdens our children with massive debt. Unlike Bill Murray’s character in the movie, ‘Groundhog Day,’ the Legislature has not learned its lesson and finds itself repeating bad behavior day after day.”