Updated 9:25am Tuesday: The Legislative Analyst's Office now projects that Gov. Brown and state lawmakers will have an additional $1.1 billion of discretionary money available during their budget negotiations. That's after funding has been set aside for schools, reserves and debt repayment - and on top of all of the governor's proposals.
Original Story: Governor Jerry Brown and California lawmakers could have a lot more money available to work with the upcoming state budget, including a limited amount with no strings attached.
The Brown administration tends to use lower revenue estimates to frame its negotiations. The less money California has, the thinking goes, the less it can spend.
But the non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s Office says the state will likely take in $3 billion more than the governor projects. That could include money not already promised to schools, reserves and debt repayment.
Assembly Budget Chair Shirley Weber says Democrats will be careful – but believe the poorest Californians need more help. “If we lift people out of poverty – we give them more resources – that then feeds into the economy,” she says.
Democratic priorities include child care, the California State University system and larger S-S-I payments for the elderly, blind and disabled.
But the Legislative Analyst cautions against too much long-term spending – a concern echoed by H.D. Palmer with the governor’s Department of Finance.
“The state should not make any long-term large commitments to ongoing state spending, given the fact that we don’t know how long this revenue increase that we’re enjoying at the moment is gonna last,” Palmer says.
The Legislature’s constitutional budget deadline is June 15th.