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Gov. Brown: State Deficit Has Been Erased

Gov. Jerry Brown unveiled his proposed 2013-14 fiscal year budget Thursday morning.

Updated at 2 p.m. Thursday

Gov. Jerry Brown unveiled a state budget for next fiscal year that is balanced and allocates more money for education.

According to the Sacramento Bee, Brown's $97 billion proposed budget for 2013-2014 has a $1 billion reserve, leading the governor to declare the state budget deficit has disappeared for the first time since the recession began.

A legislative analyst last fall had projected a $1.9 billion deficit, despite voters' approval in November of an income tax hike on high earners and a temporary hike in the sales tax.

An improving economy and higher tax revenues have erased that deficit.

Spending in the governor's 2013 budget would rise by 5 percent over the 2012-2013 budget, according to a Reuters report.

Nonetheless, the governor cautioned California cannot go back to previous spending levels. For example, Brown said he is unwilling to restore funding for some social programs that have been cut in recent years.

"It is best to maintain a very solid budget and a good reserve... or we'll go back to the boom and bust, borrow and spend," Brown was quoted by the Bee as saying.

The governor does recommend adding $125 million to both the state university and the state college system. As part of that, Brown wants colleges and universities to cap the number of classes students can take.

The governor also is recommending an additional $2.7 billion for local schools and community colleges, increasing the total education budget to $56 billion, the Bee reported.

As part of that extra funding, Brown is asking for a financial overhaul of the California school system, according to the Bee.

State Superintendent Tom Torlakson said he believes the governor is on the right track.

“The governor’s budget proposal keeps the promise we made to Californians who supported Proposition 30 and wisely begins to restore some of what our schools have lost. It will take years to bring our education system back to financial health and I applaud the governor for beginning that work in earnest," said Torlakson.

He added, “I admire the governor’s determination to move forward with an overhaul of California’s confusing system of school finance and I share his desire to direct more help to students and schools with the greatest needs. At the same time, I remain concerned about the fragile fiscal state of so many school districts and preserving state priorities. I look forward to examining details of the governor’s proposal and working closely with the education community throughout this challenging process.”

Assemblymember Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) released the following statement in response to the budgetproposal early Thursday afternoon:  

“After several years of crippling budget shortfalls, California is now on its way to reaching fiscal health. Thanks to California voters’ support of Proposition 30, this budget begins to reverse the devastating cuts experienced by our K-12 schools. Community Colleges, UC, and CSU would also see significant increases.

"I am pleased the Governor has prioritized using funds from Proposition 39, in a way that mirrors my legislation AB 39, so we fund energy efficiency and renewable energy for classrooms and help our schools cut the cost of their utility bills.

"The Governor’s proposed budget will put California on solid ground to invest in education, increase jobs and contribute to a growing economy. I look forward to the Legislature’s thorough review of the details in the months ahead.”   

Skinner's newly redistricted 15th Assembly District includes, among other communities, El Cerrito, Kensington, Albany, Berkeley, Emeryville, Piedmont and parts of Oakland.

The state Legislature still has to approve the governor's budget plan. Democrats now have two-third majorities in both the Assembly and state Senate.

The budget takes effect July 1.

You can see the entire budget proposal on the state financial office's website here.

KB January 12, 2013 at 06:53 AM
Good news? Not when the budget is balanced on your back. Instead of spending cuts, Brown along with the takers siphon money from private sector workers and funnel it directly for the benefit of excessively over-compensated govt workers.
Hobie January 12, 2013 at 01:56 PM
What Republican Arnie couldn't do but Democrat Gray Davis tried to do. We all need to remember Gray Davis and what he tried to accomplish. Unfortunatly,we had to deal with Arnold first.
American Girl January 12, 2013 at 02:02 PM
KB I know someone who just retired from LA County Fire. $10,000 per month. Unbelieveable!!! He is very young and will collect on that for years!
Carl Petersen III January 12, 2013 at 06:04 PM
Kevin Clark 6:04 pm on Friday, January 11, 2013 "Wow.. no budget defeicit? What a spin? The Calpers retirement system was/is 100 billion in the red something tells me that is not paid off.... that balanced budget must be selective." . . The budget in question is the operating budget. It would include any payments that are due to the retirement system, but not the retirement system itself.
Carl Petersen III January 12, 2013 at 06:22 PM
Kevin Clark 6:04 pm on Friday, January 11, 2013 "If every one who works for the state, caltrans, police fire, county, city.teachers prison workers" . . I am curious as to why you would include state workers as "takers." Do they not provide services in return for their paycheck?

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