10:17 A.M. -- (Katie Orr) -- During the press conference Brown compared the state’s fledgling high-speed rail project to the Golden Gate Bridge and the Panama Canal. He says it’s something that would bring the state together and would contribute to California’s innovative spirit.
"No one is talking about the Marshall Plan or putting a man on the moon or the trans-continental highway," Brown said. "But I think California is still that generator of dreams and great initiatives."
Brown also wants to set aside $300 million for high-speed rail.
Among other allocations Brown is proposing: $1.6 billion in a rainy day fund and more than 800 million dollars for infrastructure projects including upkeep in state parks, highways, schools, courts and prisons.
9 A.M. (AP) -- A robust economic recovery and surging revenue propelled by voter-approved tax increases has sent California's general fund spending to a record high, but Gov. Jerry Brown is pledging a somber approach to the windfall.
In introducing his budget proposal Thursday, the Democratic governor said beginning to pay down California's massive "wall of debt" must be a priority.
His budget proposal for the 2014-15 fiscal year dedicates $11 billion to paying down debts and liabilities, including $6 billion in payments that had been deferred to schools.
He also sets aside $1.6 billion for a rainy day fund to protect against future downturns, saying "wisdom and prudence should be the order of the day.
The record $106.8 billion general fund exceeds the spending level of just before the recession by more than $3 billion and is a nearly 9 percent increase over spending in the current fiscal year.
A copy of the plan obtained by Capital Public Radio projects that the state now has a $4.6 billion surplus for the current and upcoming fiscal years. Just three years ago the deficit was $25 billion.
In the proposal, Brown includes a significant increase in funding for schools and projects including parks, highways, courts and prisons.
It also includes:
- Health policy changes for the state’s Medi-Cal program
- Major investments in the environment and plans to spend $850 million in revenue from the state’s cap and trade program
- Giving the State Water Resources Control Board responsibility to run California’s Safe Drinking Water Program
Brown also proposes setting aside $1.6 billion for a rainy day fund.
Democratic Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg wants to exempt vehicle fuels from California’s cap-and-trade system, which they’re currently set to enter next year. Instead, he wants a carbon tax at the gas pump.
Affordable housing projects in California lost their most reliable funding source when the state dissolved redevelopment agencies a couple of years ago. Now, there’s growing support to find money for affordable housing once again.
Governor Jerry Brown says California’s different regions make it hard to develop water policies that would satisfy the entire state. Meanwhile, a lawmaker wants to quintuple state funding to the California Arts Council.
Governor Jerry Brown has landed a big win in court. The three judge panel overseeing state prisons has given the Brown Administration an additional two years to downsize the inmate population by another 5,000 inmates.
California is “in the money” once again with January revenues surpassing Governor Jerry Brown’s budget estimates.