Today, Senator Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield) issued the following statement in response to the legislative passage of AB 128, the 2021-2022 state budget act:
“The government’s COVID shut down of the economy closed thousands of businesses and forced hundreds of thousands of workers onto the unemployment rolls where they had to negotiate the dysfunction of the state’s Employment Development Department (EDD) to obtain unemployment benefits. Those benefits are paid for by the employers, and the surge in claims has created a $24 billion deficit in the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund that must be repaid through higher payroll taxes. The business community and I tried to get the Democrats to recognize that this is an emerging crisis. However, the majority party only dedicated $200 million this year to the problem. This is a wholly inadequate response to what will be a genuine emergency for the small businesses who barely survived the government shutdown of the economy.
I am also astonished that the Democrat majority would once again surrender their legislative authority by granting explicit authority to the Governor to continue his one man rule by Executive Order. Ironically, this budget was passed one day before the Governor officially re-opens the state from COVID shut down, yet he will continue to have widespread and unchecked spending authority under this budget.
However, I do want to acknowledge the encouraging progress made in some budget areas. Local officials and I successfully pushed to restore funding for the Barstow Veterans Home and ensure there will be a future for that important facility, and all without displacing a single veteran. I also want to note that there is long needed funding to increase provider rates for the developmental disability community and a restoration of funding for Social Recreation, Camping Services, Educational Services for the developmentally disabled population.”