Brown Ups California Budget, Despite Revenue Declines
Brown Ups California Budget, Despite Revenue Declines
School Finance Brown's May budget adds more money for schools and child care but mixed bag for higher
13 May, 2017, 10:41
Bright spots in the governor's budget proposal include a much-needed $6 billion supplemental payment to the California Public Employees' Retirement System and a boost in the state's rainy-day fund, from $6.7 billion a year ago to $8.5 billion - which would be about two-thirds of the way to the constitutional goal of 10 percent of tax revenues.
Stone wondered how the governor could boast of "spending billions of dollars on anti-poverty programs (while) one in four children go to bed hungry every night in California".
Budget negotiations between the governor and Democratic leaders will soon begin in earnest.
Jerry Brown is telling the University of California, in response to a scathing audit revealing millions of dollars in secret reserves at the UC system.
"The governor has said and will continue to say that we should not over commit the state to higher levels of spending in the event that something not of our making changes our direction".
He backed away from a proposal to shift $600 million in costs to counties to provide care for seniors and people with disabilities.
California Gov. Jerry Brown will release his updated budget proposal Thursday, with the state's economy holding steady but significant political uncertainty ahead. So - as is the case in many other states - the federal health-care uncertainty could present big problems down the road. While a full Rainy Day Fund might not eliminate the need for further spending reductions in case of a recession or major federal policy changes that trigger a budget crisis, saving now will allow the state to spend from its Rainy Day Fund later to soften the magnitude and length of any necessary cuts.
Brown's proposals would have to be approved by California's legislature, which is dominated by Democrats. "That's money from the very gas tax the Democrats promised would go exclusively to fixing our decrepit roads and providing relief for traffic congestion".
"California has spent enormous sums of money, particularly in education", Brown said. Jeff Stone, R-Murrieta. "At some point, you have to ask, what are the Democrats spending money on?"
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Overall, the total budget increased to $183.4 billion, up 2.2 percent from January.
"Now, that's a lot of red", said Brown, pointing to the chart.
"Despite talk of fiscal restraint and budget deficits, the revised budget would still result in a spending increase of $1.7 billion", said Republican Senate leader Patricia Bates.
But Brown defended her, saying the governing Board of Regents and others generally think she is doing a good job.
Senator Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, issued a statement condemning what he called a "shell game" in the California Legislature to hide controversial spending policies into the budget without public scrutiny.
Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon of Los Angeles calls the governor's new plan an improvement from his January budget proposal.
In early January, before the heavy winter rains arrived, the governor proposed increasing the state budget by $179 million to address the five-year drought. Now, having declared it over in April, he proposes to reduce that increase to $63 million, with much of the remaining money to go for increased firefighting - from more fire engines to longer hours at CalFire stations - to deal with the risk from 100 million dead trees in the Sierra Nevada and to help with emergency water supplies in Central Valley communities whose wells ran dry. A stopgap federal spending bill, meanwhile, passed Congress with bipartisan support and maintained existing federal funding for state programs. Income tax in April lagged projections by about $708 million, she said.
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