During a press conference on Monday, opponents of Measure E, the 0.25 percent sales tax to benefit Fresno State, blamed Asm. Jim Patterson (R–Fresno) – a top backer of the measure – for not securing funding for Fresno State during his time in the Legislature.
Patterson fired back Monday afternoon, saying the attacks on him are lies.
The big picture: Opponents to Measure E, including former Fresno Unified School District Trustee Brooke Ashjian, Asm. Esmeralda Soria (D–Fresno) and Fresno City Councilman Miguel Arias went after Patterson during a press conference at Valley Children’s Stadium Monday morning.
- Soria asked why supporters of Measure E did not request and demand that the state provide funding for university improvements over the last several years when California had a budget surplus.
- Ashjian claimed Patterson has never introduced a bill into the Assembly to help Fresno State, saying, “Where the hell you been, Jim?”
The other side: Patterson, who is listed on the ballot as a supporter of Measure E, sent out a response Monday afternoon with several examples of times where he has supported Fresno State in his position.
- He pointed to Senate Bill 453 in 2021. Known as the California State University Agricultural Research Institute grant program: Agricultural Biosecurity Fund, which allocated research grants to at least six California State University schools, including Fresno State.
- Patterson pointed to two letters he wrote to U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg in 2022 requesting that Fresno State be considered for funding for grant funding for a transportation center for railroad infrastructure.
- Patterson also wrote a letter to California Energy Commission Chair Robert Weisenmiller in support of an energy management project for Fresno State.
- He also joined other Central Valley lawmakers in April 2022 formally requesting that the Assembly Budget Committee make a $45 million commitment in the state’s General Fund to construct a concert hall at Fresno State.
What they’re saying: “Since 2016, every time the CSU System or Fresno State has asked for augmentation to its budget, I have emphatically spoken out in favor of this funding,” Patterson said in a statement. “And each time those budget requests were denied by Democrats in Sacramento.”