Jerry Brown unveils $132 billion California budget for 2018-19

Gov. Jerry Brown holds a budget chart as he discusses his proposed 2016-17 state budget at a news conference in Sacramento Calif. The ballooning costs are an issue Brown will face in his final year in office despi

Brown's final California budget stashes billions in reserve

Brown's pension law required public employees hired after January 1, 2013 to contribute more money toward their retirements and capped their benefits by eliminating generous benefits the state gave to public workers during the dot-com boom.

California has faced 10 recessions since World War Two, and the state must prepare for the 11th, Brown said. "Let's not blow it now".

The budget plan is likely to change in the coming months as lawmakers battle for pet causes and the state's revenues are recalculated before the next fiscal year begins in July.

Under the proposal, the state's rainy-day reserve fund would increase by $5 billion to $13.5 billion, which Brown said was necessary for future economic downturns.

Brown's budget includes $18.7 billion for transportation programs and improvements, up from the $18.1 billion allocated past year, a modest 3 percent increase. He also would allocate $3 billion for K-12 schools through local control funding to put more money in the hands of schools that have higher concentrations of impoverished students and English learners.

Beyond those and a few other hand-picked spending increases, Brown wants to set aside almost all of his projected $6 billion surplus.

The minimum guarantee of funding for K-14 schools in 2007-08 was $56.6 billion and dropped to $47.3 billion in 2011-12 at the peak of the state budget crisis. Jerry Brown announced his support for what was billed as the biggest change in California public education in decades. In May, he asked the state's community college system to "take whatever steps are necessary to establish a new community college that - exclusively - offers fully online degree programs".

Jerry Brown unveiled his 16th - and final - proposed budget as governor on Wednesday.

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Under Brown's plan, no community college campus would receive less money than it did under the 2017-18 formula.

This includes $272 billion in retirement liabilities for state and University of California employees - figures that could be understated. 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. The UC plans to add 2,000 additional undergraduate students in fall 2018 and requested funding support to add 500 more graduate students. However, that may not be enough to avoid tuition increases that both universities are considering even though Brown wants to keep tuition unchanged.

Amidst growing uncertainly at the federal level, the budget again provides funding to increase health care coverage to low-income Californians under the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA). Cities and towns will see significantly more money in their coffers - $2.7 billion compared to $1.6 billion previous year - to pay for local street and road repairs, thanks to the gas tax.

The Legislature should heed these warnings and not take sustained economic and revenue growth for granted.

- Matching locally generated funds for high-priority transportation projects ($200 million). It includes $2.8 billion to fix roads, highways and bridges.

Brown projects California will have $6.1 billion in extra cash.

California continues to work towards a state goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.

Democratic Senate Pro Tempore Kevin de Leon, comments, "For the last several years, we have been fortunate to invest in California and its citizens, while at the same time building up a strong budget reserve to insulate from future downturns".

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