California governor seeks smaller education, child care cuts

Gov. Jerry Brown discusses his 2017-2018 spending plan at a news conference in January

Gov. Jerry Brown discusses his 2017-2018 spending plan at a news conference in January

Meanwhile, year-to-date revenue totals are $1.8 billion behind the current budget's projections. In a statement, she said the spending plan undermines Brown's reputation for fiscal constraint and raises the threat of budget deficits. Now, having declared it over in April, he proposes to reduce that increase to $63 million, with much of the remaining money to go for increased firefighting - from more fire engines to longer hours at CalFire fire stations - to deal with the risk from 100 million dead trees in the Sierra Nevada and to help with emergency water supplies in Central Valley communities whose wells ran dry.

The California Academy of Family Physicians (CAFP) wasn't happy that the revised budget continues the January proposal's planned cut of more than $33 million next fiscal year for physician training. After county officials warned they could not absorb the expenses, the state would now shift $141 million under Brown's proposal.

Sen. Jeff Stone, R-La Quinta, said the governor and Democratic leadership in the Assembly and Senate were giving no indication of a willingness to "control spending". State lawmakers have introduced over 130 bills to address the state's affordable housing crisis through tax credits, developer incentives, streamlined approval processes for development and other ideas.

"What we're doing is fighting as hard as we can so that never happens", he said.

Despite referencing the possibility of billions of dollars in federal health-care cuts, Brown said his revised budget does not assume Congress will repeal the Affordable Care Act. Jerry Brown pointed to a chart showing that almost $125 billion dollars in federal health care dollars would disappear over the course of a decade if Republicans dismantle the Affordable Care Act as proposed. But because of higher-than-expected revenue from capital gains, the $1.6 billion deficit he projected in January has shrunk to roughly $400 million, according to state Finance Director Michael Cohen.

'Cuts are coming,' Jerry Brown says as he releases revised budget plan
Brown's budget does not include increased funding for repairs and replacement of some of the state's aging government buildings. The state auditor was particularly critical of UC President Janet Napolitano, who has disputed auditors' findings.

Bright spots in the governor's budget proposal include a much-needed $6 billion supplemental payment to the California Public Employees' Retirement System and a boost in the state's rainy-day fund, from $6.7 billion a year ago to $8.5 billion - which would be about two-thirds of the way to the constitutional goal of 10 percent of tax revenues.

The release of Brown's budget plan kicks off a month of negotiations with the Legislature.

"There will always be budget challenges, but we can not let it stop us from improving the lives of ordinary Californians", Mayes said in a statement. He praised Brown's plan to pay down part of the $200 billion of unfunded pension health care liabilities.

"I am disappointed that the Governor continues to break promises to the California voters who approved the last year's tobacco tax increase", Lackey said.

The revised budget withholds $50 million from the University of California until it implements a series of reforms laid out in a blistering state audit that showed the system had failed to disclose millions of dollars in reserve funding. The initiative had been promoted by doctors, dentists and others who thought the money would be used to increase their payments, which are significantly lower than private insurance.

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Meanwhile, Republicans in the U.S. Senate are debating an overhaul of former President Barack Obama's health care law, which California embraced to add almost 4 million people to Medi-Cal.

Brown said state spending already has increased significantly for education and social services in recent years and he doesn't believe the state can afford significant further increases. The reason is simple.

Under the bill passed by the House last week, federal funding for Medi-Cal would fall by $6 billion in 2020 and by $24 billion by 2027, Brown said.

Tax collections have slowed since the governor's previous spending plan was released.

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