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Opposing Views On California’s State Budget Crisis

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California State Capitol in Sacramento (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

California State Capitol in Sacramento (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — This week Governor Jerry Brown’s vetoing of the Democrat simple majority budget came as a surprise to many, including Republican Assemblywoman Connie Conway from the 34th district. Though the governor’s decision came at a swift speed,Conway was glad it did not become law. She claimed that things that are important to the taxpayers in the Golden State are getting cut.

“Cuts need to be made, but in a more strategic manner. Public safety is very important to the California taxpayers as well as education and infrastructure,” said Conway.

The Assemblywoman criticized the governor’s lack of foresight saying his one and only plan would be difficult to sell in order to get more Republicans on board with his proposal of tax extensions and that he needs a plan b, but doesn’t have one.

“The taxes are a problem. When people see that core services are cut, then they are lead to believe that they need to pay higher taxes.”

Conway said she thinks certain cuts are done on purpose as a disingenuous way to argue that a tax increase is necessary.

Conway’s other main argument was that pensions and benefits shouldn’t have to be bargained.

“Why do we have to bargain those away with added taxes? That should be part of the overall plan in the first place. [Republicans] think it just makes sense,” she said.

Conway said she notices a pattern in Sacramento where new programs continue to be added, but they can’t seem to support programs that were added 20 years ago.

“We need to honor what’s most important to the taxpayers,” said Conway, but she did admit that the governor has taken some steps in the right direction in curtailing wasteful spending.

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Rather than taking money from schools she believes we should be looking at companies operating and equipment budgets. So far Brown has started these kinds of cuts by taking away some government employees’ cell phones and by taking cars away from Caltrans.

State Treasurer Bill Lockyer, a Democrat, agrees with Conwayand thinks the Governor made the right decision by vetoing the state budget, because the budget had too many gimmicks and didn’t allow sufficient revenue or cuts to be balanced.

“There certainly is a lot of disappointment amongst the Democrats,” said Lockyer commenting on whether or not it was an all or nothing budget and somewhat sidestepped the question as to whether or not the Governor would have a fight within his own party over cuts and tax extensions. Instead he offered what Brown should do next.

“The governor will have to put up a proposal that will be balanced and see what the reaction is to that, the spending is the problem, it’s wrong and unfortunate,” he said.

Lockyer said Brown always thought that Republicans would realize that the all-cut budget would be unwise and too deep for California’s safety net, but it was the governor who was surprised when he found that the types of Republicans from his first term in state office have become a bit more inflexible.

(Copyright 2011 by CBSSan Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services may have contributed to this report.)

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