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California Lawmakers Approve Final Budget

Alex Proimos, flickr
 

Alex Proimos, flickr

The $115.4 billion General Fund budget represented a compromise between Governor Jerry Brown and Legislative Democrats who had wanted an additional $2 billion in spending. Senator Mark Leno says his party did make progress on several priorities, like early childhood education.

"This compromise provides for 7,000 additional full-day preschool slots," Leno said. "Along with 6,800 restored child care slots and rate increases for all providers."

Senate leader Kevin de Leon says the budget accomplishes many things, such as increased K though 12 and higher education spending. But he acknowledged not everything got funded. 

"We shall remain committed to those who have been marginalized in this great state, both socio-economically as well as politically," he said. 

Democratic Senator Holly Mitchell abstained from voting on the final budget. She says it did not do enough to help vulnerable populations in the state. Mitchell had been pushing for a repeal of the Maximum Family Grant rule, which limits aide to some children born into the CalWorks system. Her proposal was not included in the final budget agreement.

The budget did win several Republican votes in the Senate and one in the Assembly. Republican Assembly Member Melissa Melendez did not vote for it, but she thanked Governor Brown anyway.

"I want to thank the governor for standing with Republicans and rejecting the majority party’s spending wish list," she said. "The governor listened to our concerns and he did insist on a budget that was based on sound revenue numbers." 

However, Republicans in both chambers strongly objected to a last minute budget trailer bill that would allow state water regulators to force local water agencies to consolidate. Assembly Minority Leader Kristin Olsen called the measure "horrible." 

"A budget trailer bill dealing with the drought should actually effectively address California’s extreme water crisis related to drought," she said. "This bill doesn’t do that all."

Olsen says the bill doesn’t do anything to increase the state’s water supply. Additionally she says it was in print for less than 36 hours before lawmakers had to vote on it. The bill was approved by both chambers.