CA budget deal reached, legislators to vote Monday

by Josephine Djuhana | June 13, 2015 5:53 am

budget finance[1]On Thursday, the California Senate Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review released[2] an overview of the budget adopted by the Conference Committee on June 9. The Conference Committee is composed[3] of both Senate and Assembly members, tasked with negotiating multiple conference actions from June 1 – 9.

According to the overview, the conference version of the budget “carefully balances the need for additional public investment in child care, education, health care and other programs, with the necessity of maintaining the state’s fiscal stability through increased reserves and debt reduction.” These priorities include actions that will:

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As detailed above, the Legislature’s version of the budget allocates total General Fund expenditures of $117.5 billion for 2015-16, which is about $2.2 billion more than Governor Jerry Brown’s May Revise[5]. The budget includes total reserves of $5.7 billion, which includes $4.2 billion in the Prop. 2 “rainy day fund” and $1.5 billion in the regular budget reserve.

According to a prepared statement[6] from the Assembly Democratic Caucus, the conference version of the budget “adds another $700 million over what the governor proposed for schools”:

California community colleges and state universities will also receive increased funding:

Regarding health care, the new budget will restore 5 percent of the “AB97 Medi-Cal rates cut for dental care immediately and the rest of Medi-Cal services on April 1, 2016.” In addition, funding has been allocated toward Medi-Cal services for children, regardless of immigration status. Previously optional Medi-Cal benefits have been restored, and Developmental Disability Services rates are increased by 5 percent for targeted services and 2.5 percent for all other services.

Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, said in a prepared statement:

“Our legislative budget is on time, balanced, and great news for schools. Our budget includes $5.7 billion in reserves, about $1 billion more than the governor’s May Revision reserves, and an additional $760 million in debt payment, along with targeted investments to ensure economic growth and the well-being of our residents. This budget increases access to higher education for California students, adds childcare options for working families, creates an earned-income tax credit for working people, and provides help for Californians dealing with the drought.”

Despite the fanfare, Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff, R-San Dimas, urged caution in a release earlier this week:

“This budget deal negotiated by the legislative Democrats uses revenues projections that are higher than the governor’s May revenue projection by $3.2 billion. This is a risky move. I am afraid legislative Democrats want to spend money that may not exist and that once again will push our state into budget deficits down the road.


“Senate Republicans continue to press for a responsible, balanced budget. However, the ball is in the hands of the majority party in the Legislature, the Democrats. They can join the governor and Senate Republicans to continue to rebuild the Golden State’s financial health or they can continue to spend money we do not have, which ultimately would put our state financial outlook at risk.”

Both houses will vote on legislation reflecting the committee’s decisions, Senate Bill 69 and Assembly Bill 93, on Monday, June 15.

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