Capitol Chat: Gov. Brown's Final Budget

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Jerry Brown's proposed budget.

"California has faced ten recessions since World War II and we must prepare for the eleventh".

Brown's new General Fund budget is a record $131.7 billion, a 4.1% increase over past year. Jerry Brown released his 16th and final annual budget blueprint Wednesday, urging legislators to sock away most of the state's projected $6.1 billion surplus as he warned of the next economic downturn and potential cuts by the Trump administration and the Republican-controlled Congress.

Another $4.6 billion would go toward transportation projects, including $2.8 billion for roads and bridges and $721 million for passenger rail and public transit.

A fact often ignored by those who want to amend Proposition 13 is that California governments are flush with cash despite Proposition 13's tax limitations.


Sens. Kevin de León, the state Senate leader, and Holly Mitchell, the Senate budget committee chairwoman, also lauded Brown's budget as financially responsible, but suggested they wanted to see increased funding for education, child care and poverty reduction programs. "Let's not blow it now".

Due to the Great Recession that began in 2008-9, Brown had to manage through a $25.4 billion budget deficit he inherited in his first year back in the governor's mansion after a 28-year interlude.

"The key to this budget is that California has a very volatile tax system", Brown said. Both houses of the California legislature are controlled by Democrats.

According to the Department of Finance's budget summary on higher education, the total reflects growth of $892.8 million ($621.8 million General Fund and local property taxes and $271 million other funds) compared to revised 2017-18 expenditures.

In 2013, the state enacted the K-12 Local Control Funding Formula to increase support for the state's neediest students and restore local district flexibility over how money is spent in schools.


The governor's January proposal is an opening gambit in the long march toward a budget that is to be adopted in June, before the July 1 beginning of the fiscal year.

The Legislative Analyst's Office projects general fund revenue of $135 billion for the upcoming budget year, nearly $40 billion more than the state collected eight years ago.

California's fiscal position has improved by leaps and bounds since 2011, when the state suffered a $27 billion budget gap.

In addition, Campaign for College Opportunity officials stated the governor proposes an ambitious new funding formula for California Community Colleges that rewards better student outcomes by investing additional revenue in colleges for the number of students they graduate, the number who graduate within three years, and the number of students who earn an Associate Degree for Transfer.

California lawmakers haven't missed a budget deadline in the past six years since voters passed a constitutional amendment to lower the threshold for passing a spending plan, which essentially wrote Republicans out of the process, and barred lawmakers from being paid until a spending plan was passed.


As the state won't know for months the impact of the GOP tax bill, Yee said, "Brown is wise in exercising caution with responsible short-term spending, boosting rainy day fund reserves, and paying down debt".

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