SACRAMENTO, Calif. --Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday signed California's $108 billion budget for the coming fiscal year that pays down debt, builds a rainy day fund and provides additional money for schools and health care.
Brown signed the budget in a crowded, sparsely furnished press room at San Diego City Hall, flanked by lawmakers including Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, a Democrat from San Diego.
"California is demonstrating that the majority can actually govern, unlike Washington, which is mired in gridlock and partisanship and extreme polarization," Brown said, adding that Democrats had "a lot of cooperation from the minority party as well."
The budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1 is the highest general fund spending plan in state history. It is built on temporary tax increases and surging revenue from the booming stock market.
Republicans called the 2014-15 fiscal year spending plan a mixed bag. They praised the use of a more conservative revenue projection while criticizing spending on permanent programs that they say could be difficult to maintain once temporary, voter-approved tax increases expire in a few years.
Here is where the money is directed:
- Lawmakers agreed to Brown's plan to set aside $1.6 billion for the state's rainy day fund and approved companion legislation to start reducing $74 billion in unfunded teacher pension liabilities.
- Spends $264 million for free preschool and day care for low-income families. The preschool program eventually will serve half of all 4-year-olds in the state, about 234,000 children.
- Increases the maximum aid allowed under California's welfare-to-work program, CalWORKS, by 5 percent starting next April.
- Includes $1 billion to cover higher-than-expected Medi-Cal enrollment rates as part of the federal Affordable Care Act's Medicaid expansion.
- Relatives and workers who care for the elderly and people with disabilities outside of nursing homes will be entitled to overtime pay.
- Gives $250 million this year and a quarter of future revenues from California's greenhouse gas emissions law to the $68 billion high-speed rail project.