Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
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.

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