3 things to know about Gov. Jerry Brown's $124 billion budget

Posted May 13, 2017

Assembly Republican Leader Chad Mayes (Yucca Valley) complained the budget “fails to move California in the right direction.

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 past year to $8.5 billion - which would be about two-thirds of the way to the constitutional goal of 10 percent of tax revenues. Recently, Gov. Jerry Brown announced his proposed May Revision Fiscal Year 2017-18 Budget.

The ranking Republican on the Assembly Budget Committee, Jay Obernolte of Hesperia, was kinder, saying the revised budget makes some responsible choices based on the state's fiscal uncertainty.

Democrats who control the Legislature also have their disagreements.

Thursday's plan includes $6.5 million more for the Department of Justice, and 31 positions, to handle more workload related to the legal challenges by the state to the federal government on sanctuary cities and other policies, effectively reversing a proposed cut in January's plan.

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The governor's revised budget, which totals $183.4 billion for all funds, backs away from some cuts proposed in January to counties and to child care programs.

The heart of the potential federal cuts to California involve health care if the Affordable Care Act is repealed.

While the state's revenue projections are $2.5 billion rosier than those forecast in January, they are worse than what was anticipated a year ago.

"Over the past four years, we have increased spending by billions of dollars for education, health care, child care and other anti-poverty programs". 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 fire 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.

The revised $124 billion general fund budget is slightly above last year's $122.3 billion budget. The initiative had been promoted by doctors, dentists and others who thought the money would be used to increase their payments, which are significantly lower than private insurance.

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The fourth-term governor said California will continue to fight the federal government's push to replace former President Barack Obama's landmark health care law, and called the health care bill that passed the House of Representatives last week an "abomination".

Assemblyman Tom Lackey, R-Palmdale, issued his own statement, praising the governor's plan to pay off future debt but expressing frustration over what he called broken promises about where the money from a tax increase is going. As a result, revenue for the first 10 months of this fiscal year fell short by $136 million.

The final 2017-2018 budget must be approved by June 15. "In this budget proposal, they are diverting 30 percent of funding from the gas tax to non-road-related projects like building parks and job training for felons".

"The state must also continue to plan for and save for tougher budget times ahead", the plan said, noting pending federal actions on defunding health care, eliminating the deductibility of state taxes, and defunding Planned Parenthood.

Four senators from Northern California want $100 million for levee repairs at the Oroville Dam, where almost 200,000 people who live downstream had to be evacuated after heavy rains exposed weaknesses earlier this year. The state is in its eighth year of economic recovery.

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Lawmakers from the Bay Area asked for $10 million in response to flooding earlier this year in San Jose.