. California Gov. Jerry Brown sought more spending on schools and child care Thursday as he revised his spending plan for the fiscal year that starts in July.
He cited a “modestly improved fiscal outlook” since January for allowing $1.5 billion more in general fund spending in his $124 billion proposal, despite uncertainty about future federal spending on health care because of Trump administration efforts to overhaul the federal health care plan.
“We’re trying as much as possible to keep us on an even keel,” Brown said in proposing $1.4 billion more for K-12 schools and community colleges. By law, about half the state’s spending goes to K-12 education and higher education.
He’s also reversing a proposed $500 million cut for low-income childcare that he sought in January. His budget also cancels his proposal to shift $600 million in costs to counties, which supervisors warned their budgets could not absorb.
The release of Brown’s spending plan kicks off a month of negotiations with the Democrat-controlled Legislature.
“Spending has gone up far more than anybody ever imagined,” Brown said, citing a tax increase and improving economy. Yet he warned again that the economy could tank, taking the state’s budget with it and forcing sharp cuts in future years if lawmakers overspend now.
“What we’re doing is fighting as hard as we can so that never happens,” he said.
Democratic legislative leaders gave a tepid response to Brown’s initial budget plan revealed in January, rejecting Brown’s proposed cuts to college scholarships and child care providers while insisting they will push to increase spending on social welfare programs.
Brown in January proposed a $122.5 billion budget that kept general fund spending mostly flat. The Democratic governor called for more than $3 billion in cuts because of a projected deficit he pegged at $1.6 billion. His administration later acknowledged it miscalculated health care costs.
His less-dire budget now cites increased revenue based primarily on higher capital gains.