By Dan Walters
Published: Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2013 – 12:00 am
Last Modified: Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2013 – 7:43 am
When California voters passed a multibillion-dollar sales and income tax increase last year, they raised hopes of countless interest groups.
Almost all had seen sharp reductions as state revenues plummeted during the worst recession since the Great Depression, and they appealed to Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature for slices of the new revenue stream.
When the 2013-14 budget was completed in June, it was evident which money-seekers had won and which hadn’t.
Public schools, which had been the major selling point for the tax increase, were obvious winners. The state constitution required schools to get a big share of the new money, and they did – albeit with a new method to calculate which school districts got what.
Advocates for health and welfare programs serving the poor, the aged and the ill were somewhat disappointed that while Brown and lawmakers stopped further cuts in their allocations, there wasn’t much in the way of compensation for previous reductions.
Spending on prisons and other pieces of the “criminal justice” section of the budget likewise remained fairly static, as did support for colleges.
On paper, the nation’s largest system of courts looked like a winner with a 61.3 percent increase in state support.
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