California Governor Jerry Brown speaks with Chinese Minister of Science and Technology Wan Gang (not pictured) during their meeting ahead of the Clean Energy Ministerial global forum in Beijing on June 6, 2017. "Let's not blow it now".
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. That proposal would result in a $13.5 billion rainy day fund, hitting Brown's goal of having 10% of tax revenues in reserve.
Sen. Holly Mitchell, who leads the Senate's budget committee, said the state must do more to aid Californians living in poverty and suggested Brown's plan doesn't do quite enough.
Controller Betty Yee released her December cash report Wednesday that showed revenues for the fiscal year so far are $2.79 billion above June's budget expectations of $16.25 billion.
The 2015 and 2016 budgets allocated $960 million to the most critical deferred maintenance projects such as levees and high-priority state facilities including office buildings and the Capitol Annex, according to the budget document. For K-12 schools, 2018-19 funding levels will increase by about $4,600 per student above 2011-12 levels.
Gov. Brown also announced $26.7 million for a voluntary home visiting pilot program for young, first-time parents in the CalWORKs program, California's version of the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.
Among the few new spending initiatives in Brown's plan is the creation of an online community college, costing $120 million for one-time startup and other costs. Local governments and school districts, meanwhile, have been drawing attention to their rising expenses on pensions, complaining that the costs are "crowding out" their ability to fund public services. "Lately, it's been between 1 and 3 percent". They noted that the governor's plan does not include specific funding for UC's plan to add 2,000 California undergraduates in fall 2018 and its desire to add 500 more graduate students. With no tuition increases this year, university tuition, adjusted for inflation, will be below 2011-12 levels. California continues to be the national leader among states in implementing the optional expansion of ACA with almost 3.9 million Californians covered in 2018-19.More news: What to expect from Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu's India visit
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The budget document says the new formula seeks "to improve the incentives for districts to focus on improving student success while providing districts with local flexibility to do so".
The Legislature should heed these warnings and not take sustained economic and revenue growth for granted.
- Matching locally generated funds for high-priority transportation projects ($200 million).
Another $4.6 billion would go toward transportation projects, including $2.8 billion for roads and bridges and $721 million for passenger rail and public transit.
While Brown notes that the $35 billion so-called Wall of Debt identified in 2011 has been knocked down to $6 billion, there are $275 billion in other liabilities.
Furthermore, as Brown was reminded by one of Wednesday's reportorial questioners, the Democrats vying to succeed him this year have been courting liberal voters by promising all sorts of new and expensive programs if elected, largely mirroring what Democratic legislators want.