Wilk calls new state budget a lost opportunity

State Sen. Scott Wilk speaks during the Valley Industry Association's fourth annual State of the State luncheon at the Hyatt Regency Valencia in Valencia on Friday, 062521. Dan Watson/The Signal
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The California State Legislature passed a $262.6 billion state budget Monday night. The budget for the upcoming fiscal year, which starts July 1, now awaits Gov. Gavin Newsom’s signature. 

Two weeks ago, legislators passed a placeholder budget to meet their constitutionally mandated deadline for approving the state budget. 

On the floor of the state Senate this week, Sen. Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, said this budget — approved on a party-line vote — is “historic in the opportunity that we’ve lost.” 

Wilk, the Senate Republican leader, said Republicans were shut out of a process that resulted in a budget that he said invests in Newsom’s “short-term political future.” 

“Senate Republicans proposed logical solutions that would have helped ordinary Californians by saving businesses, protecting jobs, reforming EDD, establishing a Gas Tax Holiday, and bringing accountability to wildfire,” he said.  

The budget is not going to “get the job done for all Californians,” Wilk said. “A few years from now, we’re going to be back (at) the same place, higher taxes and then having to cut programs because we don’t have a sustainable pathway forward.” 

Assemblywoman Suzette Valladares, R-Santa Clarita, agreed with Wilk. 

“This budget didn’t go far enough to help the working-class families hit so terribly hard by last year’s pandemic,” Valladares said in a prepared statement. 

She suggested actions to meet the state’s immediate and future needs. 

“I also wanted to see more funding for wildfire prevention, long-term water storage, plus more resources for special education, as well as a reduction to the cost of gas for the next year,” Valladares said. 

The Legislature-approved budget includes a $4 million grant program to help law enforcement agencies address a testing backlog of sexual assault evidence. 

Assemblyman Tom Lackey, R-Palmdale, represents a northern portion of the city of Santa Clarita, as well as Acton and Agua Dulce. He authored the budget proposal to address the sexual assault forensic exams, also known as “rape kits.” 

Sen. Henry Stern, D-Calabasas, represents a western portion of the Santa Clarita Valley. He did not respond to a request for comment as of publication of this story. 

Newsom also approved a rent relief program for low-income tenants and extended the state’s eviction moratorium on Monday. 

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