California Assemblywoman made a campaign stop Thursday at the Pacific Palisades Community Council meeting, where she answered questions from PPCC members on issues affecting the state and Los Angeles area.
"How can we make people's lives better, that's what government's for," Butler said during her opening remarks. "I believe in government. The government's not perfect, but it's here to make sure we have healthy, sustainable lives."
Butler said her top priority is because "it's an investment in our future." Schools have endured major budget cuts during California's economic downturn as a result of dwindling tax revenue.
"There's been an economic crisis across the country but obviously it's also affected California," said Butler. "We've cut $56 billion from our budget over those years, and most of that has fallen to education."
The assemblywoman supports a proposed ballot initiative endorsed by Governor Jerry Brown that seeks to raise revenue for education and public safety. The initiative calls for a 0.25 percent sales tax increase for four years and a 1-3 percent income tax hike for Californians who make more than $250,000 annually for seven years.
In addition to the state budget, questions from community council members included environmental regulations, traffic law enforcement, property taxes and high-speed rail transportation.
In response to a question about legislative efforts to possibly weaken the California Environmental Quality Act, Butler said "CEQA is imperative to California's good health. ... I believe that we are getting to a place where the environment and the labor movement can work together to make sure that we do clean, healthy jobs and build in an expedient way but also something that's going to protect our environment."
If elected, Butler said she would play an active role in facilitating discussions between constituents who have disagreements with the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy.
PPCC members also raised concerns over primarily city enforcement issues such as automated traffic enforcement systems and who frequent Palisades roadways, Butler said she would seek appropriate remedies from the perspective of the state government.
Proposition 13, which provides lower property tax rates to long-standing homeowners, also entered the discussion.
"There are many ... people here in the Palisades that if 13 was ended they may not be able to stay in their house," PPCC member Joyce Brunelle said.
"Proposition 13 is a very complicated measure," Butler replied. "It does not mean that we are going to [change] personal property taxes, I don't believe that will ever actually happen."
Butler said legislators instead are attempting to close loopholes that allow corporate property owners to avoid paying taxes.
The assemblywoman, who is a member of a transportation subcommittee that oversees a proposed bullet-train project that was recently approved by the California High-Speed Rail Authority, also pledged her support for exploring a statewide high-speed rail line.
Butler represents Assembly District 53 but in the newly redrawn 50th District, which includes the Palisades, Malibu, Beverly Hills and other Westside locations.
The primary election featuring Butler and three other candidates is June 5, and the general election is November 6.