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LAO: Brown Budget Proposal "Prudent" But Could Be Improved

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

California Gov. Jerry Brown presents his 2015 budget proposal at the state Capitol last Friday.

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Governor Jerry Brown’s budget proposal is drawing praise from California’s non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s Office, albeit with some notable exceptions. And the LAO agrees there’s not much room for new spending beyond education.

Despite California’s booming economy, there is no state budget surplus. Revenues are billions of dollars above projections. But Governor Brown believes the California Constitution will send all this year’s additional revenues to education programs. Jason Sisney with the Legislative Analyst’s Office says that’ll leave little new money for other programs.

“There might be room for some of those. But the state does have the need to build reserves to protect itself when these volatile revenues go down. They inevitably will go down – and we can’t say when,” Sisney says.

He says lawmakers would have to dip into reserves – or cut from existing programs – to invest in other priorities, like higher education or efforts to help the poor.

The LAO also points out that although the governor says it’s time to address California’s $70 billion in long-term retiree health care debt, Brown doesn’t propose any money to pay for it.

You can read the LAO's report, released Tuesday, here.