'Cuts are coming,' Jerry Brown says as he releases revised budget plan

Gov. Jerry Brown unveils his revised state budget on Thursday at the state Capitol

Gov. Jerry Brown unveils his revised state budget on Thursday at the state Capitol

Jerry Brown on Thursday dialed back his proposed cuts for schools and child care, citing an improved fiscal outlook since he outlined the cuts in January.

State data show that the Proposition 98 minimum guarantee of funding for K-14 schools has fluctuated over the years, dropping to a low of $47.3 billion in 2011-12.

The revised budget also calls for $2.8 billion in revenue derived from the Road Repair & Accountability Act of 2017 to be allocated for "fix-it-first investments" and "high priority transportation projects". It still, however, cuts the state's Middle Class Scholarship Program.

"They weren't sent to Congress just to take orders from that crowd of Donald Trump", Brown said. After county officials warned they could not absorb the expenses, the state would now shift $141 million under Brown's proposal.

The release of Brown's spending plan kicks off a month of negotiations with the Democrat-controlled Legislature.

"Over the past four years, we have increased spending by billions of dollars for education, health care, child care and other anti-poverty programs", Brown said as he unveiled the revised budget at a Capitol news conference Thursday morning. The revised budget for the 2018 fiscal year, which starts July 1, provides a $6 billion loan to the California Public Employees' Retirement System, the nation's largest public pension fund, in an effort to reduce its unfunded liability.

- Sen. Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles, chair of the Senate Budget Committee: "It's certainly an improvement over the January proposal", Mitchell said, adding she's "thrilled" to see more funding for child care and education.

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Lawmakers have until June 15 to approve a balanced budget.

The recovery, coupled with voter approval of a multibillion-dollar tax hike, mostly on the wealthy, allowed Brown to balance the state budget, which had been hemorrhaging red ink, pay down a "wall of debt", build a "rainy day fund", and sharply boost politically popular spending on K-12 schools.

Still, Brown said the budget was considerably more constrained than in any year since 2012, when California struggled through years of deficits.

"The state must also continue to plan for and save for tougher budget times ahead", the plan said, noting pending federal actions on defunding health care, eliminating the deductibility of state taxes, and defunding Planned Parenthood.

However, he said the money from a tobacco tax increase was not being directed where it was promised. He also changed course on his earlier budget proposal to delay a rate increase to child care providers.

The state auditor was particularly critical of UC President Janet Napolitano, who has disputed auditors' findings.

Consumer advocates say they agree with the governor about fighting potential federal cuts to Medi-Cal.

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"I am not in the business of opining on my colleagues", Brown said.

But Brown defended her, saying the governing Board of Regents and others generally think she is doing a good job. Not until June when the budget is moved to the floor, will we learn how badly behaved the political elites were with the people's money.

Brown's budget does not include increased funding for repairs and replacement of some of the state's aging government buildings.

The current plan has a slightly more optimistic revenue estimate than in January-it projects $2.5 billion more revenue-and Brown has proposed restoring some cuts he pushed for in January.

Meanwhile state parks would get $31 million in additional funding from the 12-cent-per-gallon gas tax that the Legislature passed this spring.

"April is usually the state's biggest tax filing month, so lower-than-expected personal income tax receipts are troubling", Yee said in a statement.

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