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California Budget Talks Enter Key Stretch

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio
 

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

California lawmakers and Governor Jerry Brown are heading into crunch time for state budget talks. The sides have just days to reach a deal if there’s to be a vote by next Monday’s constitutional budget deadline.

In a $115 billion general fund budget, $1 billion might not seem like a lot. But how to use that $1 billion – or whether California will actually have it – is the focus of negotiations. Senate Leader Kevin de León says majority Democrats will push for limited new spending – starting with child care and the CSU.

“We’re talking about 1 percent,“ De León says. “This is a small sliver. So we want to make sure we make the right investments so it can pay off for all taxpayers in the long run.”

De León believes the booming economy will generate enough revenue to pay for the new spending. Gov. Brown says California can’t afford to take that chance, because the next recession could bring back large budget deficits.

If history is a guide, the sides could land somewhere in the middle. A deal would need to be reached within the next few days for a vote by the Legislature’s constitutional budget deadline, one week from Monday.