Conway: Today, Governor Brown shared his vision for California for the year ahead. Republicans were eager to hear his ideas to the many challenges facing our state. Unfortunately, the governor's vision is centered around one thing: higher taxes.
Governor Brown says the sky will fall if Californians don't agree to a $35 billion tax increase. You and I know that simply isn't so. It's time for Sacramento to be honest with Californians. The good news is that our economy is starting to recover. Last year, Republicans fought to lower taxes by just over $1,000 for the average family of four. Just as Republicans have said time and time again, if you let more people keep their hard-earned money, they'll use it to help our economy grow. And guess what happened? Tax rates went down - but tax revenues grew by $8.4 billion. And revenue will grow even more next year - $4.5 billion without tax hikes.
But the bad news is that Sacramento wants to spend all this new money - and then some. They propose growing government spending by 7 percent next year. Democrats want to raise your taxes - not protect our schools, but actually to grow government. In fact, the governor has targeted our children's classrooms for almost 90 percent of his proposed trigger cuts if his taxes fail. This is wrong. It all comes down to a question of priorities - and our priorities are the priorities of California's working families.
Huff: For Republicans, our children's education and keeping our communities safe will always be our top priorities. We will continue to oppose the governor's public safety realignment plan, which basically amounts to the early release of thousands of dangerous criminals. And this year, the governor wants to shift even more felons out of state prison to our overcrowded local jails. You shouldn't be asked to pay higher taxes to let criminals out of jail before they've paid their debt to society.
In order to generate new revenue for essential programs, the legislature must make job creation a priority. It's great to hear our Democrat friends talk about jobs. But the new taxes and regulations they propose actually hurt the economy. Only by getting government out of the way can we bring back jobs and get people working again.
Finally, every dollar we spend for pensions is a dollar we don't have to spend for our public schools or for local law enforcement. So we will work across party lines to enact strong public pension reform. Governor Brown has proposed a public employee pension reform plan that is actually a good starting point. Republicans are ready to enact his pension changes. But legislative Democrats are stalling it because their special interest union allies don't like the reforms.
The problems facing California this year are tough and the solutions will not be easy. But by working together and focusing on what matters for hard-working Californians, we can make a difference and get our state back on track.
Conway: As I have said many times, Republicans are the last line of defense for California taxpayers. That's a responsibility we take seriously. Visit our new website, CaliforniaBudgetFactCheck.com, to learn what the governor's budget plan means for you and your family and ensure that your voice is heard.
Huff: We hope you'll stand with us throughout this year's budget debate. Thank you for listening and God bless our Golden State.