Jerry Brown Proposes $190.3 Billion Budget Democrats Intend to Bust

Friday, 12 Jan, 2018

Jerry Brown appears poised to exit office next year with a top political priority in hand: free from the massive budget deficits that had weighed on his predecessors.

Brown said that in the past the state has experienced 10 recessions since World War Two and we must be prepared for the next one.

Working with community colleges, private colleges "are confident we can and will improve the number of transfers into our sector", said Kristen Soares, president of the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities in a statement Wednesday expressing thanks for Brown's plan.

The budget could also be rocked if voters approve a ballot initiative to repeal the gas tax that Brown championed past year, which raises $5 billion annually for road repairs and other transit. 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. Cities and towns will see significantly more money in their coffers - $2.7 billion compared to $1.6 billion a year ago - to pay for local street and road repairs, thanks to the gas tax.

Responding to a question on how the governorship has changed over the 40-plus years Brown served his four terms as governor, he began by saying, there is more money circulating now.

Community college tuition for full-time California residents ranges from roughly $1,100 to $1,400 a year, depending on course load. As the state's lead penny-pincher, Brown must continue to hold firm even as he prepares to pass leadership to a new governor. "Let's not blow it now".

State officials and economists said planning for the 2018-2019 budget cycle had been particularly hard this year.

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 $132 billion spending proposal includes notable investments in education for foster youth in the state; a new home visiting program for moms receiving welfare; and a bid to divert some young adults from prisons into juvenile facilities. "The governor could start by refunding the money to Californians who paid the now suspended fire prevention fee, and by reconsidering the need for his catastrophic gas tax hike".

"You have our piggy bank, which is the Rainy Day Fund".

The 2015 and 2016 budgets allocated $960 million to the most critical deferred maintenance projects such as levees and high-priority state facilities including office buildings and the Capitol Annex, according to the budget document. Over the same time period, funding for state financial aid that primarily supports low-income and first-generation students has increased by $623 million to a total of $2.3 billion.

Many in Mr. Brown's party, which wields the power to raise taxes with two-thirds majorities in both state houses, have pushed for increased spending on social programs as the state has recovered from the last recession.

The proposal now awaits approval by the California State Legislature in June to be passed as part of the budget, which takes effect July 1.

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".