Senator Patricia C. Bates (R-Laguna Niguel) issued the following response to Governor Newsom’s State of the State address:
“Governor Newsom spoke of the ‘California Way’ as a roadmap to address some of our state’s most difficult challenges; however, it is difficult to see how the ‘California Way’ has helped hard-working families across the state. California residents are experiencing the highest gas prices in the country, rampant and brazen crime, insufficient water storage, and an unaffordable housing market – the real California.
California taxpayers have provided the state with record revenues and another massive operating budget surplus. I strongly encourage the governor to take this opportunity to make investments that really impact the lives of all Californians.
Gas prices are over $5/gallon which means hard-working families are having to choose between filling up their gas tanks and putting food on the table. The governor should fully suspend the gas tax and save drivers more than $.50 cents/gallon.
Last year’s crime wave compelled the governor to unveil his ‘Real Public Safety Plan’ yet the smash-and-grab robberies, retail theft, and violent crimes continue to plague our communities. It is time to reverse the soft-on-crime policies of this Administration and the majority party in the State Legislature.
With a projected surplus expected to be between $40-60 billion, the governor should commit to expanding and improving California’s aging water infrastructure network. Such investments could provide California residents with a steady source of water and keep our agricultural industry afloat. Let’s get Sites Reservoir built. Let’s get the Friant-Kern/Delta-Mendota and the San Luis Field/San Joaquin Divisions of the California Aqueduct repaired. No more excuses.
The 2020 homeless count showed more than 161,000 people without a roof over their heads in California. That is twenty-eight per cent of the nation’s homeless population. Despite more than $17 billion spent to address the homeless crisis, the situation has only gotten worse. Two months ago, Legislative Republicans called on the governor to convene a special sessionand to support our efforts to reduce homelessness in ways that focus on accountability, compassion, and treatment.
Lastly, the Economic Development Department (EDD) has paid out $20 billion in fraudulent claims since the start of the pandemic. It’s appalling to see California taxpayers cheated out of so much money. Now California’s employers are on the hook to pay higher taxes to pay down the Unemployment Insurance debt. This should not be the ‘California Way.’ The Governor’s budget proposes to pay down $3 billion of that debt. Senate Republicans have asked for $10 billion. Even some Assembly Democrats have asked for $7.25 billion. Our budget situation allows us to do more to reduce the tax hit on job creators.
Millions of Californians are struggling with higher energy costs, higher housing costs, higher taxes, and communities that are feeling less safe. We must and can do better.