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Jerry Brown Says California's Budget Deficit Has Disappeared

Jerry Brown Says California's Budget Deficit Has Disappeared

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Published by Jon Ortiz
Yamamura 2013
Yamamura 2013

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Published by: Jon Ortiz on Apr 12, 2014
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2 of 100 DOCUMENTSCopyright 2013 Sacramento Bee (California)All Rights ReservedSacramento Bee (California)January 11, 2013 Friday
 A; Pg. 1
 1488 words
 Jerry Brown says California's budget deficit has disappeared
 Kevin Yamamura; kyamamura@sacbee.com
Gov. Jerry Brown declared Thursday that California's budget deficit hasvanished thanks to new tax hikes and past spending cuts, marking the first timesince the recession that state leaders haven't faced a deep fiscal chasm inJanuary.The Democratic governor proposed additional money for K-12 schools and highereducation in his $97.7 billion general fund budget while restraining growth inmost other programs."We have to live within the means we have, otherwise we get to that situationwhere we get red ink and then go back to cuts," Brown said. "So I want to avoidthe boom and the bust, the borrow and the spend, where we make the promise andthen we take it back."Brown proposed an additional $250 million each for the University ofCalifornia and California State University systems, with a catch: He wants tocap the number of state-subsidized classes students can take at 1.5 times thenumber typically needed to graduate. He believes students would earn degreesfaster, opening slots and saving money.The governor embraced a key part of President Barack Obama's health careoverhaul by agreeing to extend Medi-Cal to as many as 1 million low-incomeresidents previously ineligible for the program. That mostly includes adultsliving without children.The federal government will pay nearly all health care costs for thoseindividuals from 2014 through 2016. But Brown fears a reversal from Obama andCongress, as well as greater costs once California picks up more of the tab.Page 1
Brown unveiled the latest version of his K-12 funding overhaul, whicheliminates most state-driven earmarks and directs more money to districts withimpoverished students and English learners who are presumed to face greaterchallenges. The governor acknowledged that the proposal is controversial,especially in wealthier suburbs that stand to receive less funding than urbanand rural districts.But he considered it a matter of fairness."We know from back to Greek philosophy, Aristotle, that treating unequalsequally is not justice," Brown said. "Growing up in Compton or in Richmond isnot like it is to grow up in Los Gatos or Beverly Hills or Piedmont."Brown said California is finally spending less money than it takes in, thefirst time since Gov. Gray Davis in 2001 that a governor has made such a boldclaim."I would say it's probably too early to draw that conclusion," said JeffCummins, a political science professor at California State University, Fresno."Historically, budget estimates have been wildly off. Saying 10 years after astructural deficit that we're out of the woods is premature."In a show of bipartisanship rare for a January budget release, Republicansand Democrats said they generally supported Brown's budget, especially now thattax battles are in the rearview mirror.Democrats now have enough votes to pass all of the budget on their own,including taxes, having claimed two-thirds control of both houses in November.Legislative Democrats are eager to restore some of the health and welfareprograms they agreed to cut under Brown and former Gov. Arnold Schwarzeneggerwhen money was tighter. But they kept their demands to a minimum Thursday,knowing it was Brown's day to set the mood and that the governor has noimmediate desire to spend beyond schools."This is a good starting point," said Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez, D-LosAngeles, who wants to prioritize lowering tuition rates at universities thisyear. "But it is that, it's a starting point."Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, said he embracesBrown's effort to spend more on education and pay down hidden debt over time."I can only add that we can't forget and won't forget mental health, dentalcare and subsistence for the elderly and disabled and other related issues asthe year progresses," Steinberg said.Assembly Republican Leader Connie Conway, R-Tulare, called the governor "theadult in the room," something no GOP member would have said two years ago whenthe governor wanted tax hikes."He may need us because our restraint agrees with his, and we believe that wemay be more restrained than some of our colleagues across the aisle," Conwaysaid.Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff, R-Diamond Bar, appreciated the governor'smessage of austerity but noted that Brown's budget devotes higher taxes not justPage 2Jerry Brown says California's budget deficit has disappeared Sacramento Bee(California) January 11, 2013 Friday
to schools but other state programs, contrary to the message of the initiativecampaign."The parents and the students that voted for Prop. 30 because it was going togo toward education should be disappointed," Huff said.While Brown touted his budget's hold-the-line aspect, some spending will growbecause past cuts will expire or he saw fit to add money.State workers will return to full employment after a furlough-type cutexpires in June, adding $402 million in general fund costs. The state will spend$143 million more to help welfare-to-work recipients develop job skills.Still, advocates for health and welfare programs criticized Brown foroverlooking their needs. Vanessa Aramayo, director of the California Partnershipcoalition, said Brown and Democrats should consider taxes on oil production orreducing corporate tax breaks if need be."It's all about choices, and he's choosing to put Wall Street ahead ofCalifornians and the state's most vulnerable," she said. "We're calling on himto put families first."The state's judicial leaders were among the most frustrated Thursday. Brownproposed taking $200 million from their construction funds and kept theiroperational budget flat. Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye noted that courts inLos Angeles, Fresno and San Bernardino counties are slated to close withoutadditional funds."This budget doesn't answer our challenges and our problems," she said. Sheadded that many trial courts are "still on reduced hours and not able to providefull justice to the public, particularly families and the injured."The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office estimated in November thatCalifornia faced a $1.9 billion deficit rather than the balanced budget Brownsees. Both predict surpluses in future years.The governor used more optimistic assumptions to bridge the difference. Hemaintains that the state will reap hundreds of millions of dollars more fromending redevelopment agencies and using cap-and-trade revenue. He also willdelay $600 million in special state fund loan repayments.BUDGET HIGHLIGHTSHere are highlights of Gov. Jerry Brown's proposed budget for the fiscal yearthat begins July 1:o Taxes: Includes an extra $15 billion in revenue through June 2014 due tovoter approval of Proposition 30, which increased income taxes on high earnersand raised sales taxes. The tax increases allowed schools to avoid deep triggercuts in December.o K-12 schools: Provides $56.2 billion for the year, a $2.7 billion increaseover the current year. Budget includes additional money for smaller class sizesin K-3, but doesn't require districts to use the money for that. Shifts adulteducation to community colleges.Page 3Jerry Brown says California's budget deficit has disappeared Sacramento Bee(California) January 11, 2013 Friday

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