Brown capers defense with California's allocation surfeit

Brown capers defense with California's allocation surfeit

Javier Howell
January 14, 2018

Jerry Brown today released a $190 billion state budget, almost 4 percent more than last year's spending plan, but restrained in its new initiatives.

The first $135 million of that will pay back the general fund for costs of building the state bureaucracy to regulate marijuana.

"California has faced ten recessions since World War II and we must prepare for the eleventh", Brown wrote in his budget letter to the state legislature. "Yes, we have had some very good years and program spending has steadily increased". "Let's not blow it now".

Proposition 2, approved by California voters in 2014, established a constitutional goal of reserving 10 percent of tax revenues in a Rainy Day Fund.

The budget includes $1.2 billion in new funding from a hike in gas taxes and vehicle registration fees approved past year.

Another goal includes providing more funding for education.

In 2013, the state enacted the K-12 Local Control Funding Formula to increase support for the state's neediest students and restore local district flexibility over how money is spent in schools.

He's proposing a $190.3 billion spending plan today that accelerates funding for his signature education law and uses new gas tax revenue to fund $4.6 billion in new transportation projects. It includes $2.8 billion to fix roads, highways and bridges.

The budget proposes a total increase of $570 million (4 percent) for community colleges, including a new funding formula that encourages colleges to enroll underrepresented students and rewards colleges for improving students' success in obtaining degrees and certificates.

Brown's spending plan acknowledged the uncertainty caused by federal policy, including Congress' failure to reauthorize the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

Brown, as is his wont, warned anew Wednesday that California is overdue for a recession that, in combination with a tax system highly dependent on a handful of rich taxpayers, would hit the budget hard - an estimated $20 billion per year loss of revenue.

13 dead, several injured in southern California mudslides and heavy rain
The Santa Barbara Fire Department was scrambling in the debris and mudflows to recover survivors of the disaster throughout the day.

"The amount and timing of revenues generated from the new taxes are uncertain and will depend on various factors including local regulations, and cannabis price and consumption changes in a legal environment", Brown's budget says.

"Supporting wildfire recovery and reducing fire risk must be top priorities in the budget", he said in a statement.

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 worldwide forum in Beijing on June 6, 2017. An update to the budget will come out in May, and the state Legislature and the governor must come to agreement on the final spending plan for 2018-19.

California's general fund spending on prisons and parolees climbs about $300 million, to $11.7 billion, under Brown's proposal.

"I can sum up the governor's budget in one word: smart", Yee said.

California is projecting one of its largest budget surpluses in years, but Democratic Gov.

California, along with other high-cost and high-tax states, is considering ways to lessen the impact of the federal tax overhaul, which will raise taxes on a significant number of high-earners in the state.

"There is a lot more flexibility than is now assumed by those who discuss the California rule", Brown said. The state is even considering converting state taxes into charitable contributions for wealthy taxpayers to avoid Trump's new tax reforms, which cap state ant local tax (SALT) deductions at $10,000. Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles, who chairs the Senate Budget Committee.

"Governor Brown's budget only proves what Republicans have been saying all along: Taxes are too darn high", Sen.

"I am proud to see the Road Repair Act finally being implemented, protecting our economy by continuing to invest in our infrastructure", Frazier said in a prepared statement.

The $131.7 billion budget plan for 2018-19 would fill the state's rainy day fund, which stockpiles funding for a possible future economic downturn, and increase funding for a program supporting low-income students.