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Gov. Brown Signs Budget With Increased Education, Social Service Spending

melfoody / Flickr
 

melfoody / Flickr

California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a $183 billion budget into law Tuesday, four days before it must go into effect. It’s a plan the governor agreed on with lawmakers earlier this month, which raises spending on education, child care and Medi-Cal.

The increases were a reversal from Gov. Brown’s initial proposal in January, which proposed constraining spending when his administration projected an economic slowdown would lead to a small deficit.

The final budget increases spending on K-12 schools by $3 billion, a billion more than Brown initially proposed. The spending plan also retains the state’s Middle-Class scholarship program and keeps increasing rates for child care providers.

In another compromise with lawmakers, the budget uses some tobacco tax money from the newly-passed Proposition 56 to increase rates for doctors and dentists who see Medi-Cal patients. The governor had proposed using the money to backfill new Medi-Cal costs, as the state begins to contribute for the program’s expansion under Obamacare.

In total, this is the state’s largest-ever budget. General Fund spending rises to $125.1 billion, up from $86.4 billion six years ago—the depths of the recession. Since that time, state education funding has increased 56 percent, while the Health and Human Services budget has grown more than 30 percent.

The non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s Office also notes state reserves will grow to almost $10 billion, the largest in more than three decades.

The spending growth is paid for in large part by voter-approved income tax increases on the wealthiest Californians—as well as the booming economy.

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