I hope everyone had a wonderful Fourth of July holiday and is enjoying the summer. I’ve been very busy at the Capitol and around the district, working together with lawmakers on various legislation, as well as creating a state budget that benefits all Californians. I am very happy to report that Governor Brown signed our state’s budget on-time and with support from both sides of the aisle.
While this year’s state budget was not perfect, I was pleased to support it. Not only is the budget fiscally restrained, but it puts billions towards paying down state debt and building our rainy-day fund. This budget also increases funding to education, including state preschool for low-income families, important public safety programs, including combating human trafficking, jail construction and court safety, as well as retains the Agriculture Education Incentive Grant Program.
The budget also allows for a rainy-day fund measure, a measure I co-wrote and sets aside 1.5 percent of the general fund each year to avoid the effects years of deficits have had on our state, including borrowing from our schools, forced “Furlough Fridays” and reductions in social services that millions of California families depended upon. This reserve gives Californians what they deserve by guaranteeing annual transfers into the fund so money is there when we need it most.
I am also pleased that I was able to help win an appeal and ensure $2 million in funding from the California School Allocation Board for the future Merced County Office of Education (MCOE) school for severely handicapped children. Everyone deserves an education and this will allow severely handicapped students the opportunity to learn on a comprehensive school site, receiving the resources needed to learn.
As we enter into the hottest and driest part of the summer season, water continues to be a number one priority. While the $11.1 billion water bond presented to the Senate failed last month, I remain committed to working with fellow legislators in crafting a comprehensive water bond that focuses on surface water storage, preservation of the Delta and clean drinking water. As I’ve said time and time again, we must keep water in the bond and my goal is to ensure the water bond has adequate water storage vital to sustain our agriculturally-rich areas.
For a full legislative update, please continue reading below. As always, if you have questions, comments or insight you’d like to share, you can contact me through my website.
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Last month, I was invited to attend the Madera Hispanic Advisory Roundtable Meeting. It was a valuable experience learning more about issues ranging from health to education impacting the Madera area. I look forward to working together and finding solutions that benefit the community.
It was my pleasure to be a part of Merced’s Community Conversations with Nathan Quevedo radio show talking about the new Employee Credit Program, a direct result of SB 90, which I co-authored. Merced County is one of three counties participating in this program that provides substantial tax credits for businesses hiring new employees and is designed to benefit areas with high rates of unemployment and economic hardship.
It was my privilege to present the Small Business of the Year award to Merced’s Paul’s Place Restaurant and Bakery owners Paul and Teresa Ybarra. They are a staple in the Merced community, and are passionate about what they do. Read their letter to the editor published in the Merced-Sun Star late last month.
I was honored to participate in the Atwater and Patterson Fourth of July parades this year and was happy my family was able to attend. My son, Caleb, and his band provided the entertainment for the Atwater parade. It was great fun!