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Capitol Alert
By Jim Miller
jmiller@sacbee.com
June 9, 2016 – 5:01 PM

  • It would repeal limit on welfare payments for people who have more children
  • Deal boosts state’s rainy-day reserve by $2 billion
  • Wednesday is deadline for lawmakers to pass a budget

Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature have reached agreement on a budget for the coming fiscal year that repeals a long-criticized rule limiting welfare payments for people who have more children, as well as making an optional $2 billion deposit into the state’s rainy-day reserve.

The $122.2 billion general fund pact includes $100 million more for child care and preschool programs in the coming year. Talks continue, meanwhile, on ways to increase housing affordability and fund programs paid for out of the state’s cap-and-trade program.

After years of unsuccessful attempts, abolishing the maximum family grant rule emerged as a budget priority this year for legislative leaders, the legislative women’s caucus, and advocates for the poor, who took to Twitter with frequent #RepealMFG posts.

Ending the rule, which prohibits increases in assistance for any child born into a family that had been receiving aid for at least the 10 previous months, will cost the state an estimated $100 million in the first year.

Details of the pact emerged shortly before the Legislature’s budget-writing committee, which last met a week ago, convened Thursday evening to begin acting on the different components of the package. The session followed days of closed-door negotiations between legislative leaders and administration officials.

“We have a lot to be proud of,” Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, the chairman of the Assembly Budget Committee, said as the conference committee met.

The agreement, several days before Wednesday’s constitutional deadline for the Legislature to pass a spending plan for the year beginning July 1, marks an earlier-than-usual settling of budget differences between the Democrat-controlled Legislature and Brown’s office. Last June, the Legislature first approved its own spending plan before negotiations yielded a final agreement with Brown.

Talks on a budget package picked up after Brown released his revised spending plan May 13. The Assembly and Senate soon produced their own budgets, and last week a conference committee began reconciling differences between the houses’ proposals while leaders worked to hash out a final deal with Brown’s office.

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