The Associated Press
01/09/2015 5:46 PM
Gov. Jerry Brown proposed a record $113 billion California budget amid an improving economy. It’s a 5.4 percent increase from the current $107.4 billion general fund spending.
Here are highlights of his spending plan:
—The University of California and California State University systems would each receive a $120 million budget increase. But Brown rejects the University of California’s demand for more money to avert tuition hikes in favor of negotiations over ways to cut costs. The budget increase is contingent on tuition remaining flat. UC President Janet Napolitano has said that amount, which is $100 million less than she sought for next year, is insufficient to accommodate the number of qualified students seeking admission and to keep faculty salaries competitive.
—California State University Chancellor Timothy White said Brown’s plan is $97 million less than is needed for enrollment growth at the 23 CSU campuses and to meet the governor’s goal of increasing the number of students who complete their degrees.
—Brown earmarked an 8 percent increase for California’s sprawling 112-campus community college system, compared to the 4 percent he provided for UC and CSU. Chancellor Brice Harris called it California’s best community college budget in years. He said it would create space for an additional 45,000 more students and expand counseling programs that put students on a path to earning a certificate or transferring to a four-year school.
—The state’s general fund will increase about 5 percent from the current $107.4 billion budget, with much of the increase earmarked for K-12 education and community colleges as required by law. K-12 funding grows by more than $2,600 per student in 2015-16 over 2011-12 levels. The budget calls for speeding implementation of the new Local Control Funding Formula that channels additional money for schools with high levels of low-income and English-language learners. It includes nearly $4 billion more for the formula than projected, allocating $50.7 billion in the fiscal year that begins July 1. The $7.8 billion K-14 budget increase repays districts $992 million in deferred funding and boosts average per-puhttps://www.google.com/webhp?tab=ww&ei=MX-wVKGBOIWqyQSp5YHgBw&ved=0CAcQ1S4 pil expenditures to a projected $13,462 from state, federal and local funds. The budget also calls for $1.1 billion to implement Common Core, the new math and reading benchmarks adopted by much of the nation.
—The governor’s budget includes more than $31 billion in general funds for health and human services. California continues to implement federal health care reform, including expanding Medi-Cal, the state’s version of Medicaid, to more low-income residents. The Medi-Cal caseload has grown 50 percent in just a few years, from 7.9 million enrollees in 2012 to 12.2 million in 2015. Brown said there are also uncertain costs that could run into the hundreds of millions because of President Barack Obama’s executive order to spare some immigrants from deportation. Although the president’s action excludes immigrants who came to the country illegally from qualifying for federal health benefits, California has a policy of using state money to provide health coverage for low-income immigrants with deferred-action status. As a result, hundreds of thousands of low-income immigrants in California will be able to apply for Medi-Cal. The governor did not include higher reimbursement rates to doctors and providers who care for Medi-Cal patients. Advocates say the current rates are among the lowest in the nation, making it hard for patents to access care. The Brown administration is also proposing a new managed-care tax on health plans to raise $1 billion annually. Some of the money will be used to restore a 7 percent across-the-board cut to the In-Home Supportive Services program.
—The budget proposes making a $1.2 billion deposit into the state’s rainy day fund, bringing the cushion against future recessions to $2.8 billion. It also includes a $1.2 billion debt payment. Debt repayments include retiring the last of a $15 billion deficit-reduction bond incurred under then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and repaying local governments $533 million for their costs of following state mandates.
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