Capitol Chat: Gov. Brown's Final Budget

Gov. Jerry Brown unveils his 2018-19 budget on Wednesday Jan. 10

Gov. Jerry Brown unveils his 2018-19 budget on Wednesday Jan. 10

That potentially dark future Brown predicted is one he won't have to preside over; the 79-year-old governor will leave office after this fall's elections. "That is just the reality". In California, though, Republicans are ever more marginalized and shut off from major decisions such as the budget.

Spending fell 6 percent Brown's first year, but then bounced back strongly, rising 46 percent from 2012 to the enacted level for 2018.

The governor's budget would direct $3.5 billion into the rainy day fund in addition to the $1.5 billion constitutionally required through legislation that created the fund in 2014.

State legislators have proposed a plan that would let California taxpayers pay their state taxes to a special fund that could be counted as a charity, in order to get around the tax bill's limitation of federal deductions for state and local tax payments.

"That's the beginning of kind of this dance - the state budget negotiation dance, if you will", is how state Sen.

"Modesty is not good enough", said Mitchell, a Los Angeles Democrat. Jerry Brown on Wednesday proposed spending nearly none of it, sticking with his traditionally restrained approach in his final budget.

The much-outnumbered Republican caucuses have their own ideas for the surplus.

In terms of K-12 education, as a result of both increased General Fund revenues and local property taxes, the Prop. 98 guarantee for 2019-19 is $78.3 million, a new all-time high.

"The good news is that California now has a substantial budget surplus", said Assemblyman Jay Obernolte, R-Hesperia, vice-chairman of the Assembly Budget Committee.

"The budget also maintains Governor Brown's commitment to fully funding the Local Control Funding Formula".

But Brown characteristically urged caution, pointing out that previous recoveries from economic downturns haven't lasted. The highs and lows of any given economic cycle could compress on the state's infamous unpredictable tax revenues.

"We can't turn on a dime in a downturn", he said.

"The key to this budget is to fill up the rainy day fund", he said.

"We do not have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem", Mr. Fong said.

"We have to set some money aside whether it's for wildfire costs or Medicare", Cohen said.

Taxes on recreational pot sales, which launched January 1, will bring in $643 million, Brown predicted. The governor will release a revised budget proposal in May using updated revenue figures from April's income tax filings. Taking the reins as the state clawed out of the devastating Great Recession, he backed ballot initiatives that raised taxes on the wealthy and forced the state to save money and pay down debts.

The 2015 and 2016 budgets allocated $960 million to the most critical deferred maintenance projects such as levees and high-priority state facilities including office buildings and the Capitol Annex, according to the budget document. The Legislature discusses the budget proposal and, with a majority vote, must pass budget bills by June 15.

The budget could also be rocked if voters approve a ballot initiative to repeal the gas tax that Brown championed a year ago, which raises $5 billion annually for road repairs and other transit. "We believe that, over the next four months, there's plenty of opportunity to discuss universal health care, universal early education for four-year-olds", Ting said. Buoyed by their victory on federal tax reform, House Speaker Paul Ryan says he'll next try to cut federal spending on welfare and Medicare, moves that could affect California's budget.

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