SACRAMENTO — Assembly Speaker John Perez pledged Wednesday to cautiously begin restoring funding to some social programs that were slashed during the recession and said lawmakers will ask voters to approve a revised rainy day fund on the November 2014 ballot.
Having a voter-mandated savings plan and building an $8 billion budget reserve by 2017 would protect the state from future "slashes and cuts" like those that devastated state programs in recent years, said Perez, D-Los Angeles.
The combination would "finally bring an end to the spend-and-slash roller coaster budgets that we've seen for the last 20 years," he said.
Perez said other priorities for his members include encouraging creation of jobs, preventing tuition increases for higher education, fighting poverty, possibly with an expansion of the federal earned income tax credit, and phasing in pre-school programs including universal transitional kindergarten for 4-year-olds.
The plan outlined by Perez on behalf of his Democratic members is the opening salvo in a budget debate expected to last until June.