California Lawmakers Send Governor $125 Billion Budget

SACRAMENTO (AP) —  California lawmakers have sent a $125 billion budget that boosts money for education and social services to Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk.

The Legislature’s Thursday vote to pass the one-year spending plan comes largely along party lines, with just a handful of Republicans supporting it.
Democratic lawmakers say the budget will help alleviate poverty while building savings to weather a future economic downturn.

Republicans say it fails to adequately prepare for a recession and reneges on promises made to voters about increasing payments for doctors and dentists who treat low-income patients on Medi-Cal.

The plan also imposes new financial restrictions and enrollment targets on the University of California following a scathing audit that questioned administrators’ use of money.

Lawmakers have also sent policy changes on marijuana, immigration and the rules around recall elections to Brown’s desk.

Assembly Republican Leader Chad Mayes issued the following statement:

“Every state budget has parts you like and parts you don’t – this budget is no different. It includes an innovative Republican proposal that will lift people up and give impoverished Californians the freedom to achieve their dreams.

“On the other hand, it doubles down on the largest gas tax increase in California history and continues to raid transportation funds. This budget will also return the state to deficits in just a few years.”

Assemblyman Jim Cooper said the following about the budget:

“The balanced and on-time budget passed today by the Legislature includes a meaningful $3.1 billion increase in education, a much-needed reinvestment in Medi-Cal programs and includes unprecedented reserves, including an extra $1.8 billion in the Rainy Day Fund for a total of $9.9 billion, allowing us to plan for any unforeseen economic downturns and stabilizes our fiscal future.

I am particularly pleased that the state has protected its commitment to working families and students by expanding California’s Earned Income Tax Credit to support 1.1 million more working families and increasing college affordability by maintaining the Middle Class Scholarship and creating guided pathways for students to earn degrees.”