Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
Published: Monday, Jun. 16, 2014 – 9:45 pm
Last Modified: Tuesday, Jun. 17, 2014 – 7:16 am

The political infighting over the next state budget began Sunday night, just minutes after the Legislature passed one that would spend $156.4 billion – $200 billion-plus when federal funds are included – in the fiscal year that begins July 1.

Raising California Together, a coalition of organizations pushing for universal child care and pre-kindergarten services, issued a statement thanking the Legislature for a quarter-billion-dollar increase in “early learning” but quickly added, “it is only a first baby step…”

The budget that was passed Sunday is a compromise between Gov. Jerry Brown’s oft-expressed desire to use windfall revenue for debt repayment and reserves and a broad push for expansion of educational and social services by his fellow Democrats in the Legislature.

Billions of extra dollars have been flowing into the state treasury, thanks to a temporary tax hike passed by voters two years ago and a recovering economy. While some is flowing at Brown’s behest into debt repayment and a “rainy-day fund,” most of the new money is being spent or, as Democrats always call it these days, “invested.”

Pressed by advocates for a vast array of services, particularly those cut during the recession that struck the state when the housing bubble burst, legislators loaded up their budget versions with new spending.

To read entire column, click here.