Capitol Chat: Gov. Brown's Final Budget

Kenny Tucker
January 12, 2018

The governor's spending plan would allocate $4.6 billion in new transportation funding in fiscal 2018-19 including $2.8 billion to fix neighborhood roads, state highways and bridges, $556 million for trade and commute corridors, $200 million for high-priority transportation projects and $721 million for passenger rail and public transit modernization. An update to the budget will come out in May, and the state Legislature and the governor must come to agreement on the final spending plan for 2018-19. Another $2.3 billion would go to the state's operating reserve fund.

Eloy Oakley, chancellor of California's community colleges, applauded the online college proposal.

"I thank the governor for maintaining the three-year commitment to increasing access and funding for early childhood education opportunities, including providing another almost 3,000 preschool slots, and for proposing a $167 million competitive grant for inclusive early education and care". "It's our responsibility to bring the campus to them, and we can do that through a fully online college".

At UC, system president Janet Napolitano and Board of Regents chairman George Kieffer issued a statement Wednesday expressing disappointment that the $92 million in extra general revenue "is less than we anticipated under the framework we established with the governor". The two had requested additional money to add more graduate students.

State senate leader Kevin de León introduced legislation last week that would allow California taxpayers to donate to a fund and deduct 100% of the donation, essentially turning state tax payments into a deductible charitable contribution.

Brown's budget proposal comes amid federal budget uncertainty.

Proposition 2, approved by California voters in 2014, established a constitutional goal of reserving 10 percent of tax revenues in a Rainy Day Fund. Brown said Wednesday that the state is projecting a $6.1 billion surplus for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1. Because of Proposition 13, Brown said the legislature is more involved in local decision-making and local funding today.

Brown's budget includes $18.7 billion for transportation programs and improvements, up from the $18.1 billion allocated previous year, a modest 3 percent increase. "The only way to maintain that stature is with continued higher education investment".

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On the forefront of his mind, however, are disaster recovery and preparedness. "I believe Gov. Brown's budget reflects a thoughtful starting point for this year's budget negotiations".

Other Democratic-led states, including New Jersey, are considering similar tactics to push back against what their leaders see as an unfair politically motivated move by the Trump administration against blue states. We need to step up our investment in the next generation.

The law gives colleges the option to cover the first year of tuition for any eligible student if the schools revise their programs to improve the chances of earning a degree. Assembly Budget Chair Phil Ting has laid out numerous proposals for the projected budget surplus.

In addition to transportation, Brown's budget also takes aim at the state's estimated $67 billion in deferred maintenance.

"We look forward to digging in on the details to ensure that all CalWORKs moms with young children birth to 5 years can benefit from this potential pilot", Rothermel said.

The good times have lawmakers airing plans to spend some of the surplus.

Additionally, the budget again increases state support for the University of California and the California State University by 3 percent. "In a ideal world, the surplus would be returned to taxpayers".

California has faced 10 recessions since World War Two, and the state must prepare for the 11th, Brown said.

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