February, 2012 | Issue 07
California's Budget: Where Does Your Money Go?
As the Legislature begins debate on Governor Brown's 2012/13 budget proposal, I am pleased to introduce a new feature to my monthly e-newsletter. The purpose of this feature is to provide constituents of the 33rd Assembly District with non-biased, easy to understand information regarding the state's finances.
This month I would like to start with an answer to one of the questions that I receive most frequently when discussing the State Budget: where do my tax dollars go?
The chart below illustrates how the Legislature apportioned $85 billion in General Fund revenue in the 2011/12 fiscal year. Of the revenue that makes up the General Fund, the vast majority is generated by the "Big Three" taxes, which include personal income taxes, sales and use taxes and corporation taxes.
It is important to note that the General Fund does not include revenue generated by fees that are dedicated to fund certain programs. An example of revenue that is not included in the General Fund is the Vehicle License Fee which funds the Department of Motor Vehicles, the California Highway Patrol, and other law enforcement programs.
As demonstrated by the chart, the three biggest General Fund expenditures fund K-12 education, health and human services (including Medi-Cal, CalWorks, and In Home Supportive Services) and higher education (community colleges, the California State University and University of California systems).
Health and Education
I discovered years ago the critical role played by education and health in fostering thriving communities.
In the years I served as a founding member of the San Luis Obispo County First 5 Commission, I learned that this is especially true for children - who are just one-third of our present population but 100% of our future. That is why I have been especially heartened by recent news and events in health and education in our district.
There have been several recent developments that bode well for the provision of health services in the 33rd Assembly District.
- Recently I spoke at the groundbreaking of a new health center in Nipomo which will be built adjacent to the current Community Health Centers facility. The new center, scheduled to open in September, will encompass a dental clinic with 14 points of care and a medical clinic with 40 points of care. The center will provide expanded services to uninsured and underinsured residents of the surrounding communities.
- We all look forward to the early March dedication of the Marian Medical Center in Santa Maria. This new hospital will include 191 private rooms, a new Newborn Intensive Care Nursery, cutting edge technologies and unique patient comfort features.
- San Luis Obispo's Sierra Vista Regional Medical center was recently designated a Level III trauma center by the County. Sierra Vista will be adding staff, equipment and facilities which will permit them to provide the highest level of care to the most critically injured patients.
- The Twin Cities Community Hospital is celebrating its 35th anniversary of providing care to north San Luis Obispo County residents. Twin Cities now has 122 beds and recently opened the Medical Arts Center for providing primary care.
- Congratulations to French Hospital Medical Center who, for the second year in a row, was recognized by Thomson Reuters as one of the "Top 100 Hospitals" in the United States for Cardiovascular Care.
Education is one field that has to continually move forward to embrace students in ways that will equip them with skills that are relevant to their own development and future job opportunities.
- I was encouraged to read about eight scholarship winning teams from Central Coast High Schools who recently displayed their robotics programs and creations for the Central Coast Software and Technology Association.
- Robotics teams who participated included those from Arroyo Grande High, Atascadero High, Mission College Prep, Nipomo High, San Luis Obispo High, Orcutt Academy, St. Joseph High in Santa Maria and Cabrillo High School in Lompoc. The educating communities who surround these students can be rightfully proud of their work in inspiring these students to achieve in this challenging field.
- Officials at Lucia Mar Unified School District held a groundbreaking for the Central Coast New Tech High School. Scheduled to open in August of this year, New Tech High will initially find its home in new and retrofitted buildings on the same campus as Nipomo High School. Students will take advantage of incredible hands-on opportunities to work with advanced technologies and to receive mentoring from neighboring college institutions and area businesses.
Health and education are perennial causes worth supporting at all levels of government. The state legislature and the governor face a daunting challenge in funding health and education initiatives against a backdrop of a multi-billion dollar budget deficit.
Nevertheless, the effort to prioritize education and health while developing the next fiscal year's budget is a worthwhile one. In my role as member of the Assembly Committee on Higher Education, I will work with every member of the state assembly to discover ways in which these priorities can be affirmed in the development of our upcoming budget. The promise of thriving future communities may depend on it.
Supporting the Arts through the Million Plates Campaign
I am lucky to represent a diverse district when it comes to the Arts whether it be music, theater, dance, or visual arts. From the Performing Arts Center and Museum of Art in San Luis Obispo to the Children's Art Association in Orcutt, the Arts are a vibrant part of the 33rd Assembly District. As valuable elements to our society and culture, the arts deserve our support even during tough economic times.
Not only is supporting the Arts good for promoting culture and creativity, but it is also beneficial to our economy. There are over 4,500 nonprofit arts and arts-active organizations in California. Arts-related nonprofits earned over $3.5 billion in revenues from programming, investments, special events, contributions and membership dues. In California, there are 681,438 full and part-time creative occupations with some of the highest percentages of job growth in these fields. Additionally, there are twice as many film and entertainment-related jobs in California than any other state in the country. California's economic future will rely on a workforce that is creative and innovative - key components in an arts education and strong local arts programs.
Currently, the California Art Council is responsible for advancing California through art and creativity, and supports the Arts through grant programs and technical support to art organizations and artists providing services to children and communities. The Art Council relies mostly on public donations for funding.
One of the ways you can get involved and support the Arts in the community and throughout California is by participating in the "Million Plate Campaign". The goal of this campaign is for one million Arts License Plates to be on California roadways- creating $40 million in revenue for the arts.
The Arts Plate - with its iconic sunset-and-palm-trees image - was designed by California artist Wayne Thiebaud in 1993, and the Arts Plate has provided funding for California Arts Council programs ever since. The iconic image has become famous worldwide, and sales and renewals of the plate have provided millions of dollars to support arts programs. Hundreds of arts organizations throughout California have received funding from Arts Plate funds, including local arts organizations through the State-Local Partner Program, a program that supports arts programs at the local level.
For more information click here
Attention Small Business Owners
The United States Small Business Administration will be hosting a free workshop for small business owners in San Luis Obispo on February 28. The workshop will be held from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm in the Edna Room at the Madonna Inn.
Topics will include: strategizing for a winning price, how RFP elements influence strategy, developing the tech proposal, how the government selects the winner and the proposal review process. The workshop is open to all small businesses; however, preregistration is required.
To learn more about this event or to register please click here
Holocaust Memorial Project
Once again, our office will be participating in the California State Assembly Holocaust Memorial Project to honor Holocaust survivors.
This project brings together local high school or college students and pairs them with Holocaust survivors, their children, or World War II veterans involved in the liberation of concentration camps.
The resulting documentation increases awareness to the student and their school community and makes for a poignant and memorable remembrance. The interviews between students and survivors usually take place in February and March.
For anyone who may know of someone who is a survivor, their offspring, or a World War II camp liberator, and is interested in participating in the program, I urge them to contact our offices so that they might become the subject of our project this year.
Fred Madriaga Passes
It is with a heavy heart that I announce the passing of Santa Maria resident Alfredo Tarin "Fred" Madriaga, father of my staff member, Michael Madriaga.
Fred Madriaga's contributions to his community were indelible. They began with his being a loving husband to his wife Alma with whom he celebrated 28 years of married life, and continued in his role as attentive father and grandfather. Fred built an accounting business in the Santa Maria area that he developed over almost three decades and passed along his ethic for hard work that was a model to his family and friends.
Fred Madriaga distinguished himself in service to his church through his passion for preaching, music and youth ministry. He leaves behind a loving wife and two sons who have grown to be hard working and respectable men - just like their father. I am proud to know the Madriaga family and urge you to keep them in your prayers.