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Gov. Jerry Brown Reaches California Budget Deal With Democratic Legislative Leaders

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

California Gov. Jerry Brown presents his final California budget Jan. 10, 2018.

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

UPDATED 4:10 p.m.

This story is developing. Check back for updates throughout the day, and follow Ben on Twitter @adlerben.

California Gov. Jerry Brown agreed to a budget deal Friday. Here's a look at some of the major points and a summary of the budget.


California Budget Deal Offers $500 Million To Cities, Counties To Fight Homelessness

There’s half a billion dollars in emergency money to help cities and counties fight homelessness in the California budget deal announced Friday by Gov. Jerry Brown and state lawmakers. Democratic Assemblyman Kevin McCarty of Sacramento says the one-time funding will go toward shelters and emergency triage services.

“We have homelessness, just, everywhere,” said McCarty. “Our neighborhoods, our downtowns, our parks, our public places. And so, we know what works. We know we need more emergency shelter beds. And so there is a one-time infusion for that.”

The budget agreement also includes a proposed November ballot measure that would ask voters to free up $2 billion in previously approved mental health funding to address California’s homelessness crisis. That money is currently locked up in court.

 

Gov. Brown, Legislative Democrats Reach Budget Deal

California Gov. Jerry Brown and Democratic legislative leaders have agreed to a budget deal that increases state funding for the UC and CSU systems, child care, and welfare grants.

They announced the $138.6 billion general fund spending plan on Friday morning after a furious week of negotiations for the 2018-19 fiscal year that begins July 1.

“California is on the verge of having another on-time, balanced budget,” Brown said in a joint statement with Senate President pro Tem Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood) . “From a $27 billion deficit in 2011, the state now enjoys a healthy surplus and a solid Rainy Day Fund.”

Specific terms of the agreement were not immediately available, but the leaders hinted at the goals they achieved in each of their statements.

Brown’s office said in its statement that the spending plan “makes record investments in schools and universities, creates the state’s first online community college, fully fills the Rainy Day Fund, boosts child care and combats homelessness and poverty.”

Atkins said the agreement “balances fiscal responsibility with social responsibility by significantly expanding the Rainy Day Fund and also making record levels of investment in education funding — both K-12 and higher education — child care access, and funding to fight homelessness and to protect children from living in deep poverty.”

And Rendon praised the deal for “easing the homelessness crisis, providing a pathway toward health care for all, lifting families out of poverty, keeping college affordable for California students, and building responsible reserves as protection against tough times.”

The deal also includes an obscure yet crucial provision to, for the first time in a decade, guarantee future minimum funding levels for schools and community colleges — at the expense of everything else.

But health care advocates are furious that a major proposal to begin moving the state toward universal health care is not part of the spending plan.

The budget does not include money to increase subsidies for Californians who get health insurance through the state’s Affordable Care Act exchange or expand Medi-Cal coverage to undocumented adults.

 

CSU, UC Among The Winners In New California Budget Deal

Gov. Jerry Brown has repeatedly fought requests for more state funding for the University of California and California State University.

“You’re getting 3 percent more, and that’s it. They’re not gonna get any more,” the governor said as he released his budget proposal in January. At the time, it included a 3 percent ($92 million) ongoing funding increase over the current fiscal year — well short of what the universities requested.

“They gotta manage. I think they need a little more scrutiny over how they’re spending things,” Brown said at the time.

Five months later, the two university systems have emerged as big winners in the agreement Brown reached with Democratic legislative leaders.

Although both universities received money on top of the governor’s proposed $92 million increase, the CSU, in particular, fared well.

It received an additional $105 million in ongoing state funding, plus $167 million in one-time money. That includes $120 million for enrollment growth over the next four years, which a legislative staff report says will support an additional 3,641 full-time equivalent students during that span.

The UC also gets $105 million in the deal, but only in one-time funding, which the legislative report says can be used for “general university needs.” The UC does get $5 million in ongoing money to support enrollment growth of 500 undergraduate students.

One-time funding of $35 million will go toward deferred maintenance at each system.

“We didn’t get exactly what we wanted,” said Asm. Kevin McCarthy (D-Sacramento), who chairs the Assembly budget subcommittee on education. “But I think we were able to provide enough to hold back the student fee increases at UC and CSU, and allow UC and CSU to cover their basic needs.”

McCarty says the governor and lawmakers still believe the universities must make more operational changes — the CSU must increase its graduation rate, and the UC must create more internal cost savings both systemwide and in the Office of the President.

“Frankly, this is gonna roll over to the next governor,” he added. “I know there will be a lot of voices who think this wasn’t a deal that’s good enough. But there’s always tomorrow.”

As for the governor’s emphatic declaration from January that he would not agree to any additional funding increases? The Brown administration attributes the budget deal to the outcome of negotiations with Democratic leaders and the governor’s “continued commitment to affordability.”

H.D. Palmer with Brown’s Department of Finance says the agreement reflects “flat tuition for both UC and CSU for the coming year” and includes language to “reduce UC and CSU’s appropriations if they were to increase tuition and fees on students and their families.”

The CSU said back in April that it would not raise tuition in the coming year. The UC, which said in April that it would delay its decision until after the budget, said the budget deal “will allow UC to put off a tuition increase for California students.”

Here’s a refresher on what Senate and Assembly Democrats each sought to negotiate in the budget deal.

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