California Gov. Jerry Brown will release his proposed state budget Wednesday for the 16th and final time of his four terms in office, and it will paint a picture far prettier than when he took office seven years ago.
In that year’s budget, the governor called for a mix of cuts and taxes to close what ended up as a nearly $27 billion deficit.
“What I propose will be painful. It’s gonna take sacrifice from every sector of California,” Brown said at the time. But, he added: “It’s better to take our medicine now and get the state on a balanced footing.”
Now, the non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s Office projects a nearly $20 billion reserve if the state doesn’t increase spending in the coming fiscal year — and the economy stays on track.
H.D. Palmer with the governor’s Department of Finance says Brown will once again seek to limit permanent spending increases “so his successor, whoever that individual may be, doesn’t have to deal with the kind of budget calamity that he had to face when he took office back in 2011.”
Palmer says the new federal tax law is just one of many uncertainties that will drive the governor’s cautious approach to the state budget.
Last month, Assembly Democrats laid out their budget vision for the coming year. In addition to building reserves, they’ll seek to increase the state’s tax credit for low-income, working people; and expand Medi-Cal to cover immigrants living in California illegally.