On January 4, the legislature returned from its fall recess to resume its work for the second half of the 2015-16 session.
One of the first annual events is the release of the governor’s state budget. This year, he has proposed upping spending to a record $122.6 billion. Despite this fact, he and his colleagues continue to double down on calls for higher taxes. A cornerstone of this plan would enact $3 billion in new gas taxes and “road user fees,” ignoring solutions put forward by Republicans that would provide the same amount for California’s roads and highways without raising taxes. Included in our plan is a guarantee that taxes paid by drivers and truckers would be used to the benefit of our roads and highways.
Later in the month, the governor delivered his State of the State Address, using the opportunity to again push for higher taxes, even though he himself recognizes that though our economy is recovering, we have to be prepared for the inevitability of another recession. But the prospect of more taxes and regulations makes our state’s already challenging business environment even more unpredictable and our long-term recovery uncertain. The bottom line is new taxes are unnecessary and the state needs to be more responsible with the money it already has.
For me, my duties have also changed for the year ahead as I was named the vice-chair of the Senate Committee on Energy, Communications, and Utilities. I look forward to continuing my work on the committee in this capacity as we confront the many difficulties facing California, particularly the high cost of energy for families and businesses.
Even as legislative business began again, still weighing on many of our hearts was the December 2nd terrorist attack in San Bernardino. Our community and state have been forever changed by this event. During that first week back, the Senate joined together in honoring the memories of the victims and observing a moment of silence. It was a moving tribute and I am grateful to my colleagues for taking the time to reflect.
In just this first month, the agenda in Sacramento has already begun to take shape. My Republican colleagues and I remain committed to working to make our state a better place for all who live here and call California home.
I’ll keep you posted.
Inland Leaders Charter School. This month, the student council of Yucaipa’s Inland Leaders Charter School along with their parents and principal, Dr. Jay Jimenez, made time to see us.
Great questions and discussions from this group!
Hispanic Chambers of Commerce. Chairman Frank Montes (center) and Executive Director Joel Ayala (right) of the Hispanic Chambers of Commerce stopped by our Sacramento office for a visit. Frank is from the I.E. – it’s always good to see a familiar face from home at the Capitol!
Earlier this month, the governor proposed the 2016-17 State Budget.
At initial review, what we have from the governor is another budget that grows government at record levels with taxpayer money while ignoring many of the real challenges facing our state. He and his Democrat colleagues continue to call for higher taxes, increasing the cost of gas and health care for California families, yet they refuse to use existing money to appropriately fund priorities like services for the developmentally disabled and our roads and highways. This is not an effective or efficient use of taxpayer dollars.
The state treasurer recently estimated state and local government debt at $1.5 trillion. Our focus should be to ensure future generations are not stuck having to foot this bill rather than fuel more out-of-control spending in Sacramento, especially since many experts, including the governor, continue to caution that another recession could be just around the corner.
On Saturday, February 6, I’ll be hosting a free pancake breakfast in Yucaipa for veterans and military families. If you have served in the Armed Forces or have a loved one who is serving, please stop by and allow us to thank you for your dedication to our country. My staff and I will also be available to discuss pending legislation.
Saturday, February 6, 2016
8:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.
Yucaipa Community Center
34900 Oak Glen Rd.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: Contact the District Office at (909) 919-7731 or visit senatormikemorrell23.eventbrite.com
In February, I’ll be hosting a community coffee in Redlands. If you’re in the area, I encourage you to attend and hear about my priorities for the year and ask questions you may have regarding state issues. I look forward to seeing you there!
Saturday, February 27 · 9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.
Muffin Top Bakery · 233 E. State Street, Suite A in Redlands
FOR MORE INFORMATION: Contact the District Office at (909) 919-7731 or senatormikemorrell23.eventbrite.com
This year, I will be hosting the third annual Patriots of the Past, Present and Future Recognition Ceremony and Dinner to honor servicemen and women of every generation and the local businesses and organizations that have supported them.
“Patriots” will be recognized in different categories, including Business, Health Care, Education, Public Safety and Community Service. There will also be a special recognition for young people who have done great work in our region.
Our office is now accepting nominations for the 2016 ceremony. For more information on how to submit names for consideration, click here.
In partnership with the California State Library, the California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet) announced the addition of five new Veterans Resource Centers this month including one at the library in Beaumont.
Veterans Resource Centers connect veterans and their families to the benefits and services they have earned. Library locations are intended to be convenient.
The Beaumont Library is located at 125 E. 8th Street in Beaumont. For more information and a full list of Veteran Resource Center locations, go to https://www.calibrariesforveterans.org/index.html
For the past two years, our office has had the opportunity to host a Fellow as part of a program through the Center for California Studies based at California State University, Sacramento. The Senate Fellows Program offers college graduates a paid, full-time legislative staff position in the State Capitol for 11 months. The fellowship’s primary goals include exposing people with diverse life experiences and backgrounds to the legislative process by providing research and other professional staff assistance to the Senate.
For those interested in applying to be a Fellow at the State Capitol, the deadline to apply for the 2016-17 class is February 8.
Last spring, it was an honor to recognize Redlands resident Harry John as a Patriot of the Past in the Business category. A World War II Veteran, Harry flew dozens of bomber missions in Europe for the Royal Canadian Airforce. Harry survived being shot down behind enemy lines in France, where he was concealed and cared for by local farmers and then protected by the French Resistance. In the 1950s he became a U.S. citizen and continued to serve others in his community of Redlands.
Harry assisted with the creation and development of Prospect Park and established an endowment for the park which is now valued at over seven figures and continues to help preserve it as the finest park in Redlands. He has served as a Board Member for Kimberly Crest House & Gardens, the YMCA, and is the current President of the Beaver Medical Foundation. He has also served on the Trails & Traffic Commission. Over the years, Harry has been active in the community as a Boy Scout Leader, Little League coach, Rotary member, and AYSO referee.
Kate Bishop began interning in our district office this past fall. Originally from Long Beach, she grew up on a sailboat with her family and gained an interest in politics through discussions with her parents. Kate started her own business washing and detailing boats in the surrounding marinas and worked all through high school for herself.
She has also had an interest in economics since high school when she had the opportunity to give a presentation on the stock market before the Federal Reserve in Los Angeles. More recently, Kate has been working as an assistant in property management, slowly learning the tools of the trade to potentially enter this field after graduation.
Kate is currently a senior at the University of Redlands, studying Political Science and Economics and is expected to graduate in April 2016. She is involved in the honor societies for both of these disciplines and is a member of the professional business fraternity on campus. Kate works as a tutor at the university, helping other college students to better understand the principles of economics in a real world way.
Kate enjoys learning and talking about politics and how people and countries interact. She intends to enter the private sector upon graduation with aspirations to get into politics, once she has a little more experience with the way the world works. She is eager to get into the field of risk analysis as this would utilize both her political science and economics background.
Thanks for your hard work this year, Kate!
Under the governor’s proposed 2016-17 state budget, tax revenues continue to grow and would reach $120.4 billion General Fund in 2015-16, growing to an all-time General Fund high of $124.4 billion in 2016-17. This equates to $5.9 billion in unanticipated new General Fund revenue since the Budget Act was passed last June. The budget also forecasts that revenues will grow every year through 2019-20.
In 2012, voters approved the governor’s tax increases under Proposition 30, which he said would be temporary. As demonstrated by the chart above, state revenue will continue to grow whether or not the taxes remain on the books. It is increasingly clear that the taxes are unnecessary and should be allowed to roll off as was originally promised by the governor. The state does not need to extend or increase taxes of any kind to meet its priorities.
After the acts of terror in San Bernardino, many in our community reflected on the event and shared their thoughts with neighbors and readers. This article by Redlands resident Julie Biggs caught my attention. I encourage you take a moment or two to read what she has to say. You can read it here.