By Signal Staff
The Santa Clarita Valley’s representatives in Sacramento issued contrasting statements Thursday in response to the Legislature’s passage of the proposed state budget, which now heads to negotiations with Gov. Gavin Newsom in advance of the state’s new fiscal year starting July 1.
Sen. Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, said the state’s spending plan will actually remain in flux for months.
“Today we checked a box to meet a constitutional deadline. Our actual spending plan will be tinkered with until October, when we finally know exactly how much money is in the state’s coffers,” Wilk said in a prepared statement after voting “no” in the Senate. “When that time comes, we must spend smarter to ensure we use our limited resources in the most impactful way. More transparency would ensure the budget is not a vehicle that puts progressive priorities over the critical needs of 40 million Californians.”
Wilk’s statement said that, earlier this year, Senate Republicans sent a letter to Newsom and legislative Democratic leaders calling for the following issues to be prioritized in the budget: lower gas prices, cut costs for renters, prevent wildfires, build water storage, commit to kids, cut failing projects, tackle crime, empower job creators, and act on homelessness.
Assemblywoman Pilar Schiavo, D-Chatsworth, released a statement praising the budget approval after voting in favor of it.
“I am pleased that today, the Legislature passed an on-time balanced budget that provides for the health, safety and general welfare of all Californians,” Schiavo’s statement said. “As anticipated, this year the state confronts a shortfall in revenue after a decade of surpluses. Due to prudent budget planning over the past several years, we are able to avoid major cuts to programs that serve our community, protect a strong rainy day fund, and craft a responsible and equitable budget without raising taxes. This is a budget reflecting our values: prioritizing housing, health care, solutions to homelessness, education, job creation, (and) protecting our environment.”
Schiavo’s statement added that she was pleased with the budget’s prioritization of spending on homeless programs, including an additional $100 million to support the Multifamily Housing Program, $100 million for the CalHome Program, and $1 billion in 2024-25 for an additional year of funding for the Homeless Housing Assistance and Prevention Program.
She also expressed gratitude that the budget includes funding for two of her bills: Postpartum Parental and Infant Care (Assembly Bill 608), which seeks to extend the length of time postpartum services are available under the Comprehensive Perinatal Services Program benefit in Medi-Cal; and, the Healthcare Affordability Fund (AB 1208), which restores funds from the individual coverage mandate penalty for use to reduce lower- and middle-income Californians’ health plan costs under Covered California.