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Governor Signs Largest General Fund Budget In History

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Gov. Jerry Brown signed California's $156 billion budget -- $108 billion of that makes up the state’s General Fund -- for the coming fiscal year Friday morning in San Diego. The spending plan is built on temporary tax increases and surging revenue from the booming stock market. 

The budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1 meets the governor's demands for a rainy day fund and paying down debt. Brown also allowed new spending for the priorities of Democratic lawmakers, including a welfare expansion and preschool for low-income 4-year-olds.

Brown says the budget shows California’s government is working.

“What this budget shows is a balance, paying down debts, putting almost $10 billion into our public schools, creating a rainy day fund and starting to really pay up and shore up our teachers retirement fund,” Brown says.

The budget also allocates $250 million for high speed rail and ensures continued funding. Brown admits the $68 billion project faces numerous challenges. But he says California must keep going forward.

“And it’s very important to show that America is right up there with all the other nations, like China, like England, like France, like Germany, like Thailand, like Spain,” he says. “Come on, let’s get with it! If we want to be a super power then we can put our trains on a high speed program and we’re doing that.”

Newly elected US House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a Republican from Bakersfield, opposes the project and says he’ll work to cut off federal funding for it.

Republicans called the budget a mixed bag. They praised the use of a more conservative revenue projection while criticizing its spending increases for permanent programs.

The new budget is the highest general fund spending plan in state history.

The Associated Press contributed to this article. 

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