California governor: More spending for schools, child care

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And though the governor's budget projects a relatively small $400 million deficit, it is incredible that there is any deficit at all, given all of the tax increases Californians and the Legislature have passed in recent years (and still more tax/fee increase and bond proposals on the horizon).

On the heels of sluggish April income-tax totals and looming federal health care funding cuts, California Gov.

Brown is withholding $50 million from the UC system after a state audit found administrators hid $175 million in a secret account while asking students for more tuition money. Obamacare has not been a success in California, but it has generally been less unsuccessful in the Golden State than elsewhere, partly because the Obama administration saw California's program as a flagship, and the program enjoys voters' support. It adds $2.5 billion in revenue expectations from the initial plan, but Brown said his financial advisors are still predicting an economic slowdown despite the increase.

The budget continues to give schools funding increases - K-12 schools will see record highs of $92.3 billion, an increase from Brown's January proposal.

Lawmakers have until June 15 to approve a balanced budget.

The governor's budget revision reduces the estimated cost shift to $592 million and phases it over four years.

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 previous year to $8.5 billion - which would be about two-thirds of the way to the constitutional goal of 10 percent of tax revenues.

Senator Holly Mitchell, chair of the Senate budget committee and a member of the Legislative Women's Caucus, said Thursday the restored funding is not just a win for kids and their parents, but for California employers.

Brown also wants to reverse a proposed $500 million cut for low-income childcare that he sought in January and revise his proposal to shift almost $600 million in costs to counties.

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The plan essentially doubles down on supporting the Afghan National Security Forces in the fight against the Taliban. More British troops could be deployed to Afghanistan amid rising fears over security in the troubled country.


The Democratic governor staked out a conservative opening position in January, projecting a $1.6 billion deficit that the Legislature's budget experts said was excessively cautious.

"We've got ongoing pressures from Washington, and the economic recovery is not going to last forever", Brown told journalists gathered for his press conference in Sacramento.

On Thursday, the governor also warned that defunding the Affordable Care Act, or eliminating funding for Planned Parenthood, could send the state budget into turmoil.

Brown in January proposed a $122.5 billion budget that kept general fund spending mostly flat. Even so, according to Brown, the budget is considerably more constrained than in any year since 2012. The president has come under fire from some state lawmakers after an April audit showed her office failed to disclose the reserves - and that it interfered with a survey of campuses about the central administration's services, rendering the results invalid.

Most of that will go to K-12 education.

Sen. Jeff Stone, R-La Quinta, said the governor and Democratic leadership in the Assembly and Senate were giving no indication of a willingness to "control spending".

"I am not in the business of opining on my colleagues", Brown said.

In early January, before the heavy winter rains arrived, the governor proposed increasing the state budget by $179 million to address the five-year drought. The May revise proposes $74.6 billion in 2017-18 - an increase of $1.1 billion since the proposed budget was released in January.

Meanwhile state parks would get $31 million in additional funding from the 12-cent-per-gallon gas tax that the Legislature passed this spring.

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