Santa Cruz Good Times

Wednesday
Jul 29th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Town Hall with Assemblymember Bill Monning

bill_MonningWhat were some of the positive and negative items contained in the governor’s May Revise of the 2011-12 State Budget?

One positive in the governor’s May Revise is that state revenues received this year exceed prior projections.

In January, California’s estimated budget deficit was $27 billion. In March we made $14 billion in extremely difficult cuts, leaving a $13 billion deficit to be resolved by June 15.  The increased revenues have reduced the anticipated debt during the 2011-12 Fiscal Year from $13 billion to $9.6 billion. While these revenue increases are an indicator of California’s slow economic recovery, we should not look at them as being sufficient to address the state’s ongoing debt and funding needs. 

Another positive in the May Revise is that K–12 education will receive a $3 billion increase in funding above the March budget package estimates, for a total of $52.4 billion in the 2011-12 Fiscal Year.

A hurdle facing passage of the May Revise is that it is still based on the assumption that there will be an extension of existing tax revenues. The governor and the legislative Democrats remain committed to providing California voters with a voice regarding an extension of existing revenues versus an “all cuts” budget. I applaud those in the 27th Assembly District who have organized and visited elected officials expressing their support for the extension of revenues. Step by step, I believe we can achieve a balanced budget and economic recovery by supporting the governor’s efforts outlined in the May Revise.

Local governments are seeing some changes passed down from the state as it grapples with its own deficit, such as realignment. Some local leaders feel the state is shifting burden onto cities or stealing local funds. What’s your take on the changing financial relationship between California and its cities?

It is critical to understand that while the governor’s initial realignment proposal challenged local governments to take on more responsibility, the governor also offered local governments increased authority over the realigned programs.

One of the proposals that has generated concern is the public safety realignment. In March, the legislature adopted the governor’s recommendation to expand the authority of local correctional administrators to use alternative custody methods and to establish a day-for-day credit for low risk offenders and parolees serving time in a jail facility. This proposal is designed to reduce state prison crowding while investing in community rehabilitation and reintegration.

Additionally, the May Revise eliminates the proposed realignment of mental health services, CalFIRE, and other cost shifts to local governments. I believe that these modifications are based, in part, on public input and testimony at budget committee hearings.

I remain resolute in my commitment to achieve a balanced budget built upon tough cuts and an extension of existing revenues. The realignment proposals can be fair, safe, and empowering to local communities, but their success is dependent on the extension of existing revenues.

The state parks closure list was recently released—what does this mean for the future of California’s state parks?

Out of the 70 parks scheduled to be closed statewide, eight are located in the 27th Assembly District. These are Castle Rock State Park, Garrapata State Park, Henry W. Coe State Park, Limekiln State Park, Moss Landing State Beach, Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park, Twin Lakes State Beach, and Zmudowski State Beach.

This list of closures is based on the budget cuts enacted in March and assumes there will be an extension of existing revenues. If we are forced to consider an all cuts budget, the park closure list will most likely grow.

When California was entrusted with state park lands, it was with the intent that the state would protect and manage them in perpetuity. The 70 parks that have been designated for closure are in some of the most beautiful areas of our state. The targeted closures in Central California are particularly distressing as I am keenly aware of these parks' beauty and their contributions to our local economies. While I understand the dire budgetary situation that has led to this decision, it is still a tragedy that these parks will no longer be open to the 5.6 million visitors they host annually.

The Department of Parks and Recreation is working to develop partnerships with cities, counties, and non-profits to keep as many parks open as possible. I am committed to working with all interested parties to attain this goal.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

The Binding of Edmund McMillen

How a Santa Cruz designer created one of the most unlikely hits in video game history

 

Sun in Leo, Rosy Star, Venus and Uranus Retrograde

Three major celestial events occur this week. Wednesday, the Sun enters Leo, highlighting the heart center of everyone. Leo is a sign of deep sensitivity (along with Cancer). Wednesday is also the feast day of St. Mary Magdalene, one of the most misunderstood women in the Bible. Saturday, July 25, Venus turns stationary retrograde at 0 Virgo (progressed Regulus, the Law, Hall of Records). Venus retrogrades for 44 days and nights, forming one petal of a five-pointed rosy star (pentagram) in the sky (five retrogrades over eight years = star). Venus retrograde turns values upside down. Our usual sense of beauty, values, the real price of things, relationships—all turn into a bundle of confusion. We don’t seem to know anything. Luxury goods are mispriced, values are jumbled, we wonder who that person is we’re in relationship with. We don’t know where our money is or where it’s gone. Venus, in daily life, represents values (resources, money, possessions and quality of relationships). Venus retrograde asks, “What do I value?” Venus retrograde puts us in touch with what has changed and what is truly of value in our lives. Venus retrogrades from 0 Virgo to 14 degrees Leo (July 25-Sept. 6). Leo is about the self and our creativity, which is how we come to know and value ourselves. We “know ourselves through what we create.” In Venus (values) retrograde (inner focus) we will ask, “What are values (not just money and finances)? What are my values? What do I create? How do I value my creations? Do I value myself?” Sunday, Uranus—planet of all things new, revelatory and revolutionary—also retrogrades (from 20 to 16 degrees Aries) until the full moon of Christmas Day. Five months of Uranus retrograde. In July and continuing on through the following months we have many planets retrograding. Things therefore slow down. Everyone’s focus becomes subjective, hidden by veils and curtains. A time when inner reserves of strength are available. A time of protection.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of July 24

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

AJ’s Market

Local cult fave keeps getting bigger and better

 

What do you think of Bernie Sanders?

He’s what we need, more hardcore Democrats. Old-school, ’70s-style Democrats. Tony Dolan, Santa Cruz, Freelancer

 

Hunter Hill Vineyards & Winery

Calling all Merlot lovers—Hunter Hill has released its 2013 estate Merlot ($25)—and a superb one it is, too.

 

Turn Up the Beet

Golden beets with buffalo mozzarella, plus single-malt whiskies and award-winning local Chardonnays