Governor's 'May revision' budget proposes additional $100 million for CSU deferred maintenance

The Latest on Gov. Jerry Brown's revised budget proposal.
								Posted May. 11 2018 10:23 AM					Updated May. 11 2018 10:23 AM								
								Posted By Heidi Rene

Governor Jerry Brown released a revised state budget proposal today.

"We're nearing the longest economic recovery in modern history, and as Isaac Newton observed: What goes up must come down", Brown said.

This means saving for the future, he said, adding, "We need to keep a tight hand on the rudder as we steer through the turbulent waters". "It's time to save for the future - as I've said before, and I will say again: Let's not blow it now".

The Democratic governor last pegged the surplus at $6.1 billion in January and proposed spending nearly none of it, preferring to direct all but $300 million to reserves. Even since January, the projected surplus has swelled by almost $3 billion. The state's budget, which has historically been subject to steep highs and deep lows, has grown 45 percent since 2011, when he took office facing a $25 billion deficit thanks to significant income growth among wealthy taxpayers.

Brown has proposed saving $5.8 billion of the surplus, roughly two-thirds, and spending $2 billion to tackle a $20 billion backlog of maintenance projects, including levees in need of fix.

The proposed budget seeks to provide $359 million to assist local governments to address homelessness and hopes to provide another $312 million for Mental Health Services.

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Share this article: California Governor Jerry Brown. Before it began, reporters were treated to an eclectic mix of money-themed tunes including Destiny's Child's 1999 hit "Bills, Bills, Bills".

Then, in characteristic fashion, Brown gestured to bleak charts highlighting the state's volatile tax revenues and pushed for saving much of the surplus for what he said will be an inevitable economic slump that will cause state revenues to tank.

Brown noted that numerous state's biggest-ticket items have grown substantially over his eight years in office.

But the blueprint unveiled Friday is hardly the final word. Lawmakers moved by the state's other pressing challenges - cities grappling with homelessness, strained public university systems, fire-ravaged swaths of the state, and working parents without access to affordable child care - are making the case for other priorities.

The May Revision maintains the 3 percent increase in funding for higher education proposed in January while continuing to keep tuition levels unchanged at both the University of California and California State University systems.

Spending on K-12 schools and community colleges has ballooned from $47.3 billion in his first year in office to a proposed $78.4 billion next fiscal year.

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The revised budget proposal calls for $2 billion for deferred maintenance for universities, courts, state facilities and flood control.

The governor wants the money to go to reserves and one-time expenses, but Democrats who control the state legislature have said they want more to combat homelessness and to expand the state's medical program for the poor to undocumented immigrants.

And after the deadliest fire season in California's history, North Bay lawmakers and fire chiefs on Wednesday held a news conference outside the Capitol calling for $184 million in firefighting aid.

"If you do your part, I'll do my part and California will continue as the most interesting, innovative, prosperous state and with a reliable water supply and decent respect for other species and habitats that make our state so attractive", he said.

Mother Nature: Brown on Wednesday signed an executive order freeing up more resources to manage forests, intending to reduce wildfire risks.

The $150 million funding increase includes $19 million to expand self-help services for litigants without lawyers, $4 million for interpreter services and $3.4 million for a five-year pilot project to adjudicate minor traffic violations online. His revised spending plan to be published Friday, May 11, 2018, will kick off a month of negotiations with the Legislature about how to spend a growing budget surplus. "I think they need a little more scrutiny over how they're spending things".

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