Jared Huffman, San Anselmo and Fairfax's representative in the state Assembly, will host a town hall meeting next Tuesday in Novato to work on answers for California’s dismal budget situation.
The Sixth District assemblyman, a democrat from San Rafael, will appear at two community meetings — one each in Novato and Petalum — to lay out the challenges placed before lawmakers attributed to the $26 million deficit.
The Novato meeting will start at 5:30 p.m. April 19 at , 901 Sherman Ave. There will be a 5:30 p.m. meeting April 27 at the Petaluma Community Center as well.
Constituents are also asked to try their hand at the interactive Budget Challenge created by nonprofit organization Next 10. It provides accurate revenues, expenditures, proposed cuts, and alternatives for you to figure out how you would balance the state budget. When you're done, click "Take Action" to send your ideas to Assemblyman Huffman.
At the community event, attendees will also be given interactive response clickers to vote on policy options and where money should be spent.
Here is the letter Huffman sent out this past Friday:
Over the past few months, I've received thousands of e-mails, faxes, phone calls and letters from constituents telling me how California's fiscal crisis is hurting their families and communities. I assure you that nothing is more important to me than achieving a responsible state budget deal that not only resolves the current $26 billion deficit, but makes serious structural changes to finally get our fiscal house in order while sustaining our fragile economic recovery.
Toward that end, my colleagues and I began voting this week on what I hope will be a bipartisan budget compromise. This includes some of the toughest choices I have ever had to make as a legislator. We passed more than $10.4 billion in cuts affecting virtually every aspect of state government and this comes on top of the significant cuts we have made in each of the past three years. These are painful but necessary actions, and I'm pleased that a few of my Republican colleagues joined in these tough votes.
In the days ahead, we will see if the spirit of bipartisanship extends to the other half of the budget compromise: a special election that asks California voters to extend existing taxes that are otherwise set to expire this year. There are no new taxes in this budget compromise; just a request for voter approval to extend existing taxes. But it takes a two-thirds vote of the Legislature to put that measure on the ballot, and so far legislative Republicans have been unwilling to provide the votes - just two in the Assembly and two in the Senate - necessary to make that happen. Recent polling shows that a strong bipartisan majority of Californians support having a special election and letting voters decide the tax extension issue. Negotiations are continuing and I'm hopeful that we can get the needed votes.
If we do, and if the voters approve the tax extensions in June, we will have a balanced budget that helps lift California out of this terrible fiscal crisis. And we'll do it while protecting K-12 education at current year-to-year funding levels, and maintaining core social safety net services albeit at drastically reduced funding levels. But if this compromise plan fails, our nonpartisan Legislative Analyst has made it clear the budget consequences will be dire and the level of cuts will be so severe that it could jeopardize California's economic recovery. Already, thousands of school teachers and staff are receiving pink slips that warn of layoffs if we can't meet our budget expectations, and as many as 70 parks and beaches around the state could soon be closed.
The stakes are extremely high. That's why, in addition to my budget work in Sacramento, I am holding a series of budget town halls in the weeks ahead where you can discuss these issues with me and voice your concerns and suggestions about our state budget. I hope you'll be able to attend.
— Jared Huffman