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 preschool 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.



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