UPDATED 12:24 p.m.
When Jerry Brown returned to the California governor’s office in early 2011, the state faced a $27 billion deficit.
On Wednesday, Brown signed the final budget of his 16 years as governor — one that seeks to leave the state with $16 billion in reserves while boosting state spending to record levels.
What a difference eight years makes.
As he joined Democratic legislative leaders in Los Angeles for a signing ceremony Wednesday, he referenced the “real financial mess” he inherited.
And although Brown scorns questions about his legacy, he sought to frame his second stint as governor through the lens of his state’s fiscal recovery.
“I pledged to work with the Legislature and get it solved,” the governor said Wednesday. “Well, this budget that I sign today fulfills that pledge and prepares us for the future.”
The $201.4 billion spending plan — including $138.7 billion in California’s general fund — is encompassed in a 26-bill budget package that Brown signed Wednesday. It reflects an agreement with legislative Democrats reached earlier this month that increases state funding for the UC and CSU systems, child care, and welfare grants.
By comparison, the first budget Brown signed, in 2011 during the heart of the recession, was $126.4 billion — with a general fund of $86.4 billion.
Brown called it “a milestone” that “represents the collective effort of the people of California.”
“This is the way we together — the 40 million people — invest in our collective future: for roads, for childcare, for higher education, for our schools, for health care, all sorts of things,” the governor said. “And I think people ought to be proud of that.”
For the third consecutive year, Brown did not issue any line-item vetoes. Before 2016, the last time a governor left a spending plan untouched was in 1982. The governor then, too, was Jerry Brown.
California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a nearly $140 billion general fund spending plan Wednesday that seeks to address some of the state’s persistent problems, from homelessness to poverty.
He joined Democratic legislative leaders and the chairs of the Senate and Assembly budget committees in Los Angeles at 9:45 a.m. for the signing ceremony.
You can watch it here: