Governor Jerry Brown released his proposed budget for California’s next fiscal year today that is balanced, significantly boosts state funding for education and healthcare, pays down debt and creates a $1 billion reserve. “[T]his budget provides long-term fiscal stability on a level that California has not enjoyed in more than a decade,” states the Governor’s press release. The improved fiscal outlook for the 2013-14 fiscal year is expected to have lawmakers debating how to spend money rather than arguing over what to cut as many Democrats may be looking to restore state services that were lost due to the budget cuts of previous years.
Last November, the Legislative Analyst’s Office released the fiscal outlook for the 2013-14 budget, projecting at that time the deficit to be a mere $1.9 billion, a vast improvement over the $25 billion shortfall just two years ago. “The state’s economic recovery, prior budget cuts, and the additional, temporary taxes provided by Proposition 30 have combined to bring California to a promising moment: the possible end of a decade of acute state budget challenges,” the report said. The LAO at the time even projected the possibility of a surplus of over $1 billion in the 2014-15 fiscal year.
The proposed budget also provides $11.6 million for the Delta Stewardship Council, a reduction from last year’s total budget amount due to the exhaustion of bond funds used to fund the development of the Delta Plan. WIth the final Delta Plan slated for adoption by the Council in the spring, the resources needed to implement the Plan will be evaluated during the spring budget process.
Also included in the Governor’s proposed budget is $11.3 million from Proposition 84 funds to the Department of Water Resources for the Perris Dam rehabilitation project and an increase of $12.1 million in Proposition 84 funds to the Department of Fish and Wildlife for the restoration of 800 to 1200 acres of habitat at the Salton Sea.
“This budget finally puts California on a path to long term fiscal stability. What must be avoided at all costs is the boom and bust, borrow and spend, of the last decade. Fiscal discipline is not the enemy of democratic governance, but rather its fundamental predicate. That is the spirit that I trust will characterize our work together in the coming year,” wrote Governor Brown.