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Brown, California Lawmakers Reach Budget Deal

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Gov. Jerry Brown and Democratic lawmakers announced a budget deal on Tuesday, Jun. 16, 2015.

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

UPDATE: Gov. Jerry Brown got his conservative revenue estimates. Democratic lawmakers got money for some of their top priorities. And California now has a state budget deal.

Less than 24 hours after lawmakers passed a budget that relied on higher revenue projections, Gov. Brown came out with Democratic legislative leaders to make this announcement:

“Very happy to report that after some rather strenuous negotiations, that we reached a sound agreement on the budget,” the governor said at a Capitol news conference Tuesday. 

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Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, Gov. Jerry Brown and Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León walk through the Capitol Tuesday after reaching a California budget deal. Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

The spending plan uses Brown’s more conservative revenue estimates but still finds money for several of Democrats’ top priorities: preschool and child care for thousands more kids; more financial aid for California college students; and room for thousands more Californians to enroll at the UC and CSU systems. There’s also money to provide health care for children living in California illegally.

“Other than the budget the Assembly and Senate passed yesterday, this is the best budget that we have seen in years,” says Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins.

Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León says the budget deal strikes a responsible balance “between strengthening our long-term fiscal foundation and investing right now in the economy of today and the workforce of tomorrow.”

Assembly Republican Leader Kristin Olsen says it’s too soon to say if her caucus will back the agreement.

“We’re very pleased that he held the Democrats to that lower, more conservative revenue projection,“ Olsen says. “The downside is he agreed to new, ongoing spending in the budget.”

Left out of the agreement: money to end a rule that limits aid for children born into the welfare system and higher rates for Medi-Cal providers. But the governor did announce that he’s calling a special session of the Legislature to stabilize the Medi-Cal system – and a separate special session on road and highway funding. Both will likely bring proposals for new taxes or fees.

UPDATE 4:48 p.m.


UPDATE 3:24 p.m.: Gov. Jerry Brown and Democratic legislative leaders have reached a state budget deal.

The $115 billion general fund spending plan relies on the governor’s conservative revenue estimates. But it also includes money for some of the lawmakers’ top priorities, including child care and higher education. The governor called negotiations "strenuous," but says the budget is sound.

"All in all, I’d say it’s been difficult but very productive, and certainly I’m glad that we got this far," says Brown.

Under the deal, the state will begin providing health care to children living in California illegally. It also offers the UC and CSU systems more money if they enroll more California students. Lawmakers are expected to vote on the deal by the end of the week.

The governor also announced he’s calling two special sessions of the Legislature -- one to raise money for road and highway projects, and another to sustainably fund Medi-Cal.

 UPDATE: 1:30 p.m. Gov. Jerry Brown and California lawmakers announced a budget deal Tuesday afternoon. As part of the deal, Brown is calling the Legislature into two special sessions to determine funding for transportation and Medi-Cal.

According to a press release from Brown's office, the budget deal is "consistent with prudent May Revision revenue estimates." 

The deal includes: 

  • $40 million to expand Medi-Cal coverage for low-income, undocumented children
  • $265 million for 7,000 child care and 6,000 pre-school slots 
  • Brown wants lawmakers to enact at least $1.1 billion in permanent, sustainable funding for Medi-Cal provider rate increases and other programs
  • $226 million to restore 7 percent IHSS service hour reduction for one year. He's calling a health care special session to determine long-term funding
  • Brown has also called for a special session to look into transportation funding 
  • $96 million over the January budget for the California State University to expand enrollment
  • $11 million to support children in dependency courts
  • $6 million in new grants for local law enforcement to improve community relations

Original Post: When Gov. Jerry Brown announces a state budget deal with California lawmakers – which could come as soon as this afternoon – he will also announce that he’s calling the Legislature into two special sessions designed to pass targeted taxes and fees.

One of the special sessions would be designed to raise money for road and highway funding – a goal highlighted by the governor in his January inaugural address. Proposals from lawmakers this year have ranged from vehicle fee and gas tax increases to surcharges for zero-emission vehicles.

The other special session would deal with taxes on managed care organizations (health insurers) and tobacco products. The money would be used to restore Medi-Cal provider rates that were cut during the recession.

The governor has called a press conference at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday at the state Capitol.