This week, the state Capitol has been flooded with teachers from all over the state who are concerned about the future of public education in California. You may be surprised to hear this coming from a Republican, but I share their concern. In fact, I couldn't agree more about the importance of our state’s public-education system, and that’s part of the reason why I was willing to work with Governor Brown to chart a path forward for our state.
Whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican, there’s no denying that we must act now to get Sacramento’s fiscal house in order. To do that, my colleagues and I proposed a hard cap on state spending that protects education funding. With this spending cap in place, not only would our state’s schools be fully funded, but also, any additional revenue the state took in would go toward paying back the debt we owe schools from years past. In conjunction with reforms to spur California’s economy and fix our public-employee pension systems, this strict spending cap will help prioritize education so schools will experience more stable funding, reduced cuts and fewer teacher layoffs.
As we anticipate the release of Governor Brown’s revised budget proposal—what is known in Sacramento as the May Revise—this coming Monday, I'm curious to know your thoughts about our state’s education system. I invite you to share your insight with me through my website or by contacting one of our offices because I fully believe that, together, we can address these short-term challenges and build a stronger, more prosperous future for our children and grandchildren.
As a parent to four young children, I believe it’s my responsibility to do everything in my power to ensure my sons and daughters live long, healthy lives. That requires not only leading by example through my own eating and fitness habits, but also instilling in them the same healthy living practices by encouraging them to help our family select and prepare healthy, nutritious meals. That’s the reason I was honored to join celebrity chef Guy Fieri at a press conference on April 25 to announce Senate Joint Resolution 5, which would designate every Sunday as "Cooking With Kids Day" and encourage families across California to help fight childhood obesity and to support healthy living by cooking nutritious meals together at least once a week. Click here to watch a video of our press conference; click here to watch a video of SJR 5 being presented on the Senate floor.
Although much of the attention in Sacramento has been focused on the state budget—and rightly so!—there are other bills going through the legislative process. For example, I'm pleased to report that SB 707 and 513—two of my agriculture industry-sponsored bills that deal with the oil olive industry, farmers markets and kitchen byproduct disposal—were unanimously approved by the Senate’s agriculture committee on May 3. SB 736, which passed the Senate Education Committee on April 13, streamlines the California State University system’s systemwide financial audit practices, achieving approximately $2 million in taxpayer and campus savings every year. That’s money that could be going to help educate students at CSU Stanislaus and other campuses across the state.
California Is Worst State For Business, CEO Survey Says
According to a recent poll of more than 500 CEOs around the country conducted by Chief Executive magazine, California was ranked as the worst state in which to do business–for the seventh year in a row! And if we don't start focusing on measures that make it easier for businesses to thrive here in California now, we'll continue to put ourselves at a competitive disadvantage when it comes to attracting jobs and revenue to our state. That’s an issue I'm going to be focusing on in my new role as Vice Chair of the Senate Select Committee on Economic Development and the State Permitting Process, and I look forward to working with both Senator Michael Rubio (D-East Bakersfield) and Senator Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana) to find ways to cut bureaucratic red tape and make it easier for our state’s businesses to do what they do best: stimulate economic growth and create jobs.
At Work In Senate District 12
This morning, I toured the Castle Airport, Aviation and Development Center (formerly Castle Air Force Base), which holds major potential for economic development in Merced County. It was a great opportunity to see firsthand the good work they’re doing to revitalize and repurpose Castle Air Force Base, as well as to coordinate trade, innovation and economic activities across the region. I also had the opportunity to chat with members of the Merced County Association of Governments' One Voice coalition. I very much appreciated the good dialogue we had about the impact California’s state budget crisis is having on Merced County, as well as what the state can do to make it easier for local governments to serve and support their constituents.
2011 Central California Excellence And Innovation Award
Congratulations to the Alliance Small Business Development Center (SBDC) of Modesto for winning the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 2011 Central California Excellence and Innovation Award! The Alliance SBDC is part of the UC Merced SBDC Regional Network and helps small businesses in Stanislaus, Merced, Tuolumne and Mariposa counties by providing business training programs and free, one-on-one business counseling services. This award recognizes the Alliance SBDC for its excellence in helping small businesses and encouraging innovation, particularly during difficult economic times.