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California Legislature Approves $115.4 Billion State Budget -- June 22, 2015
The California state Legislature voted on and approved a revised $115.4 billion state budget, officials said Friday.
In May, Gov. Jerry Brown released a revision of the 2015-16 California budget which outlines education, debt-relief, drought-relief and High-Speed Rail funds.
Compared to the January budget, the May revision reflected a $6.7 billion increase.
The final 2015-16 California budget is expected to be implemented on July 1, 2015.
“This is a sound, well thought-out budget,” Brown said, in a news release. “Yet, the work never ends and in the coming months we’ll have to manage our resources with the utmost prudence and find more adequate funding for our roads and health care programs.”
About $14.3 billion will be allocated for the K-12 system and community colleges, according to a news release.
The budget will implement $380 million California Earned Income Tax Credit to “help the state’s poorest working families,” according to the news release. The budget also aims to pay off billions of dollars of debt owed to local governments, schools and retiring Economic Recovery Bonds.
The budget is expected to bring the Rainy Day Fund savings up to $3.5 billion.
Assemblyman Scott Wilk, R- Santa Clarita, issued a statement about his view of the state budget:
“Today I voted ‘no’ on the largest budget in state history. Despite all-time record spending, this document misses the mark when addressing California’s priorities.
This budget short-changes K-14 students. This budget underfunds Proposition 98 and diverts monies to other programs. Furthermore, we didn’t lift the local school district 3% reserve cap that was placed in last year’s budget trailer bill. Students deserve full funding and local school districts must be given the tools to manage their financial resources.
This budget doesn’t address the drought. As we enter our fourth year of the drought, little has been done to address our ongoing water crisis. Instead of focusing on water storage and conveyance, the legislature is abdicating its duty by granting new, broad powers to the unelected State Water Quality Control Board.
This budget will encourage more illegal immigration. The Medi-Cal system is not meeting the needs of current recipients. Yet this budget extends Medi-Cal benefits to undocumented minors. Last session this body passed AB 60 which granted drivers licenses to the undocumented. AB 60 coupled with this new Medi-Cal expansion will serve as an additional incentive to encourage illegal immigration to our state.
This budget lacks compassion. During the ‘Great Recession’ the state severely slashed funding to the developmental disability community. This year we failed to keep our promise of restoring these cuts to those who are most in need of services.
Governor Brown has called two extraordinary sessions dealing with transportation and Medi-Cal. With a record budget we could have chosen to begin to address these priorities. Instead of living within our means, I fear Governor Brown and the majority party will be unveiling a ‘tax and spend’ plan to address challenges during the extraordinary sessions.”
Senator Sharon Runner who also di not support the new budget, issued a statement.
“Today the Senate passed the budget compromise reached by Governor Brown and Legislative Democrats. While I’m thankful this budget shows more fiscal restraint than the budget passed last week, it still comes with costs our state simply can’t afford right now.
“While it uses responsible revenue projections, I do not agree with many of the spending priorities it outlines. We need to allocate more resources to essentials like the drought, increasing water storage and fixing our crumbling transportation infrastructure.
Unfortunately, for these reasons, I could not support the budget bill today.”
In addition to the to the comments from Gov. Jerry Brown and Runner , Assemblyman Tom Lackey, R-Palmdale also issued a statement on California finalizing the state budget.
“While I am encouraged that our state’s leaders listened to Republican calls to keep spending at more sustainable levels, overall the budget reflects many misplaced priorities. Governor Brown must keep the promise made by the Lanterman Act to all developmentally disabled Californians who are counting on us to fund the services they need,” Lackey said.
In a year when spending is increasing by billions for other priorities, the budget fails to address the crisis facing the special needs community. California received record-high tax revenues this year and has the money to do the right thing. There is still time to keep the promise to the most vulnerable individuals in California, but we must act now.”