Governor to sign $108 billion California budget

View Comments
California Gov. Jerry Brown speaks during a general session at the California Democrats State Convention on Saturday, March 8, 2014, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

California Gov. Jerry Brown speaks during a general session at the California Democrats State Convention on Saturday, March 8, 2014, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – Gov. Jerry Brown is scheduled Friday to sign California’s $108 billion general fund spending plan, which sets aside money in a rainy day fund and pays down state debts thanks to surging tax revenue and the booming stock market.

The budget the governor negotiated with Democratic lawmakers also spends some of the state’s surplus on expanding social programs, including free preschool for low-income families.

Brown will hold a 9:45 a.m. signing ceremony in San Diego followed by a stop in Los Angeles, where he will join members of the Latino Legislative Caucus to celebrate labor- and immigration-related bills he signed last year.

For the fourth year in a row, the Legislature met its June 15 constitutional deadline to send a balanced budget to the governor for the fiscal year starting July 1.

Lawmakers generally adhered to Brown’s demands for setting aside $1.6 billion for the state’s rainy day fund and approved companion legislation to start reducing $74 billion in unfunded teacher pension liabilities.

“The leaders of the Legislature have worked very hard to build a solid and sustainable budget that pays down debt, brings stability to the teachers’ pension system and builds at long last a reliable rainy day fund,” Brown said last week.

Republicans called the 2014-15 fiscal year spending plan a mixed bag. They praised the use of a more conservative revenue projection while criticizing its spending increases for permanent programs, which they warn will be difficult to maintain once temporary, voter-approved tax increases expire in a few years.

Some of that additional spending includes:

- $264 million for free preschool and day care for low-income families. The preschool program eventually will serve half of all 4-year-olds in the state, about 234,000 children.

- Starting next April, the maximum aid allowed under California’s welfare-to-work program, known as CalWORKs, will increase by 5 percent.

- $1 billion to cover higher-than-expected Medi-Cal enrollment as a result of the Medicaid expansion under the federal Affordable Care Act.

- Relatives and workers who care for the elderly and people with disabilities outside of nursing homes will be entitled to overtime pay.

Brown also secured ongoing funding for California’s $68 billion high-speed rail project using money from a fund that collects industry fees through California’s greenhouse gas emissions law.

View Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 28,167 other followers