Governor’s May Budget Revision Falls Flat
Governor Jerry Brown is finally beginning to acknowledge what Senate Republicans have predicted for a long time. The projected budget deficit of $9.2 billion last January is now considerably larger because the State Legislature continues to spend money faster than our economy is growing.
The Governor admitted in his May Budget Revision that the deficit for the upcoming fiscal year had grown to a whopping $16 billion, while the independent Legislative Analysts’ Office puts the number at “north of $17 billion.”
Senate Republicans have consistently raised concerns that last year’s budget—the first majority vote budget since voters lowered the threshold from 2/3 to majority vote –– relied on too many phony spending reductions, other irresponsible revenue assumptions, and gimmicks. As state revenues have been increasing, total spending has grown faster. Since the beginning of the recession, our overall government spending has grown by $30 billion, hardly reflecting the $60 or so billion in cuts claimed by the Democrats. Cuts in anticipated revenue are hardly cuts.
The Governor has called on the State Legislature to make $8.3 billion worth of cuts. However, upon closer examination, only $2.5 billion are actual cuts to the size of government. The rest of the “cuts” are actually fund shifts and deferrals such as a raid on redevelopment agency money, raids on special funds and deferrals on Medi-Cal provider payments. These types of solutions have resulted in state have budget deficits year after year. Lost in the dialogue is the fact that our revenues have increased $5 billion from the previous year.
In spite of these increased revenues, the Governor’s budget is based upon a tax hike. The Governor will be asking voters to increase sales taxes and personal income taxes this November.
Senate Republicans believe the best way to turn our state around is to look at every government program, top to bottom and enact well documented reforms. Senate Republicans acted swiftly earlier this year to introduce the Governor’s 12-point public pension reform plan. Senate Republicans also believe in enacting regulatory reform that will help create new private sector jobs. This will help us operate the state more efficiently, and provide new revenues from higher employment.
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Budget Views Gain National Audience
I was honored to recently share my views and reaction to the Governor’s May Budget Revision with political commentator and radio talk show host Laura Ingraham. Like many national conservative broadcasters, she was surprised to learn that Republicans still exist in California.
Listen to my interview with Laura here.
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Food Allergies Bill Passes Final Test
Important health legislation designed to raise awareness of the dangers that food allergies pose to millions of people recently passed its final test with unanimous support in the State Assembly. SCR 67 designates May 13-19, 2012 as Food Allergy Awareness Week in California.
I’m grateful for the support I received in both the Senate and Assembly to draw attention to what is becoming a serious epidemic in our society. Given that there is no known cure for food allergies and reactions can be fatal if untreated, it is important to raise awareness in the public as to the seriousness of the condition. I appreciate the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) for bringing this issue to my attention and for their nationwide efforts to raise awareness and recognize this week in May.
According to FAAN, which sponsored SCR 67, as many as 15 million Americans suffer from food allergies. It is estimated that nearly six million of these people are children under the age of 18.
Food allergy occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks a food protein. Ingestion of the offending food may trigger the sudden release of chemicals, including histamine, resulting in symptoms of an allergic reaction. The symptoms may be mild (rashes, hives, itching, swelling, etc.) or severe (trouble breathing, wheezing, loss of consciousness, etc. also known as anaphylaxis).
Unlike other allergies, food allergies are of particular concern as anaphylactic reactions can be potentially fatal. There is no cure or known cause for food allergy and the only treatment at this time is avoidance.
Due to the severity and rising number of this phenomenon that affects so many of our children, I believe it’s crucial that we do our best to increase awareness about this issue. Organizations like FAAN are committed to raising public awareness, providing advocacy and education, and advancing research on behalf of all those affected by food allergies and anaphylaxis.
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In late April, I held my annual Education Summit along with Senator Mimi Walters, at California State University, Fullerton (CSUF). University Extended Education graciously sponsored the summit and paid for the parking and theater costs. This year’s topic was “Online Education” and spanned a variety of aspects related to online education. Our guest speakers included Peter Stewart, Senior Vice President of School Development of K12, Inc.; Dr. Keith Boyum, Executive Assistant to the President of CSUF; Dr. Diane Donnelly-Toscano, Innovative Programs Coordinator with Anaheim UHSD; Elizabeth Moore, Placentia-Yorba Linda USD; and Gloria Romero, former State Senator and CA State Director, Democrats for Education Reform.
Education Summit Speakers from left to right: Ed Summit Speakers: Gloria Romero, former State Senator and CA State Director, Democrats for Education Reform, Peter Stewart, Senior Vice President of School Development of K12, Inc.; myself; Dr. Diane Donnelly-Toscano, Innovative Programs Coordinator with Anaheim UHSD; Elizabeth Moore, Placentia-Yorba Linda USD; Dr. Keith Boyum, Executive Assistant to the President of CSU Fullerton.
Topics ranged from case studies of current online and hybrid programs being used in our schools, to the needs of the 21st Century workforce. I believe when we come together to share with one another our successes and failures, we can strengthen our shared commitment to positive student learning outcomes for our students.
I am grateful to all who participated, imparting their expertise and experience in working to develop these programs. With the increased demand reported by colleges and universities and the success of programs in our local K-12 schools, online education will continue to be explored and tested in our technology-driven society as a valuable tool. Special thanks to the speakers and the staff at Cal State Fullerton for making this a successful event.
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In the District
Paul Andresen from the Anaheim YMCA met with me to discuss statewide youth and government programs and potential legislation that would benefit the Y. I also attended the Inter-Community Action Network’s (iCAN) monthly meeting where government and community leaders join to network and discuss the needs of the community. The San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnership hosted me for their Legislative Breakfast where I gave a legislative update. We met at Coco’s Restaurant in Diamond Bar where I spoke to them about the state’s finances and pending legislation.
With job creation on the forefront, it is important that legislators are aware of the trends in our district’s industries. Knowing what is positively and negatively impacting them is imperative to our success as representatives. That is why I am grateful when I can meet with local business owners, tour their facilities and hear firsthand how the laws we pass—or fail to pass—impact their companies. In early May, I met with Bill Delaney from Worldwide Environmental Products. I toured their headquarters in Brea where they manufacture equipment for vehicle inspections.
Other events in May included a meeting with former Anaheim Mayor Curt Pringle and Mike Ruane from the Children and Family Commission of Orange County to discuss their budget and program funding for Prop 10. I had a truly rewarding visit to a local Boys’ State Dinner celebrating their 75th Anniversary. I was honored to address these admirable young men, as a former Boys’ State graduate myself, about my time in the program and how it helped pave the way for me in life. The Salt and Light Ministry from Calvary Chapel Golden Springs invited me to be a guest speaker where I gave them a state update and discussed education bills, pension reform and other pieces of legislation.
Zonya Townsend and Robert Tyler
Every year the city of Diamond Bar, where I’ve been a resident for over 20 years, celebrates its birthday with a festival at Pantera Park. This year Jolene Zirbes, a long-time friend and widow of the late Mayor Bob Zirbes, was honored for her community service and it was a privilege to be there to commend her.
Presenting an award to Diamond Bar Mayor Ling Ling Chang
Diamond Bar Birthday Celebration with Congressman Ed Royce, Diamond Bar City Council and City Commissioners
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School’s Out, Summer Safety Is In
May is California Child Safety Awareness Month and as such, the State of California has teamed up with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), local law enforcement agencies and schools to bring forward a campaign pushing the importance of child safety in school environments. However, our children’s safety doesn’t stop at the school’s curbside, it is just as important to create an arm of protection around our children beyond the walls of our academic institutions. There are many steps families can take to establish such protections and with the academic year winding down and more children out of school for summer break, now is the time to prepare.
As the school year for most kids is quickly coming to an end, it is important to remind our families how to stay safe at home and in public. Safe Kids USA, a coalition of educators, safety experts and business devoted to improving the health and safety of children, outline items that parents and families should consider discussing with their children.
Both Underwriters Laboratories and Healthy Children.Org offer tips from in home electrical safety to healthy living.
Through vigilance in planning and preparation, we can ensure our children’s safety both out of the classroom and at the pool.
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Time-Warner Cable is offering high school students in the 29th Senate District the chance to compete for a $2,000 college scholarship opportunity. The scholarship is offered through the No Snap Judgments Essay Contest, which encourages students to look beyond first impressions and discover how commonalities outweigh differences.
Through the lens of The Addams Family Musical, performing at the Pantages Theater in June, the “No Snap Judgments” program encourages students to engage others with openness, respect and acceptance.
More information on the essay contest can be found here.
Essays should be submitted here.
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Diamond Bar resident wins prestigious award for his work in Cardiovascular Pharmacology
John Paul Murad of Diamond Bar received the First Place Graduate Student Best Abstract Award of the Cardiovascular Pharmacology Division of the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET) at the April 21-25, 2012 Experimental Biology Meeting in San Diego.
John Paul, a Master of Science student in Pharmaceutical Sciences at Western University of Health Sciences, is the first Master of Science student to win the award in its 10 year history. He competed against PhD candidates from the U.S. as well as institutions around the world.
The study looked at the ability of a custom-designed antibody that targets a specific receptor, Thromboxane A2, to act as an anti-clotting agent to manage thrombosis-based disorders such as heart attacks and strokes. The antibody has the potential to be used post-surgery to reduce the risk of blood clot formation.
John Paul worked under the supervision of Dr. Fadi Khasawneh, who conducted his graduate and post-doctoral training on platelet biology and pathology of thrombotic disorders at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Dr. Khasawneh is also a previous winner of this award in 2007.
Not only is this an outstanding personal achievement for John Paul, it also highlights the caliber of research being conducted at Western University in Pomona.
Congratulations John Paul!
Master of Science in Pharmaceutical Sciences student John Paul Murad (left) and his thesis advisor, College Pharmacy Assistant Professor Fadi Khasawneth, Bpharm, PhD. (Jeff Malet, WesternU)
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