In its proposed budget, the state Senate wants more funding for mental health programs, dental care for poor adults and career training for high school students. The Assembly wants to increase welfare grants, expand child-care programs and reduce costs for college students.
Neither wish list matches Gov. Jerry Brown's $96.4-billion budget proposal, which is almost $2 billion smaller and relies on a more pessimistic view of California's economy. The lawmakers have less than three weeks to reconcile their differences; state law requires them to pass a budget by June 15. The governor has until the end of June to sign a spending plan into law.
Join us at 9 a.m. as we discuss the give and take ahead for state lawmakers with Times reporter Christopher Megerian.
"The differences will be ironed out," said Assembly Budget Committee Chairman Bob Blumenfield (D-Woodland Hills). "We will adopt another on-time, balanced budget."
Budget dynamics are changing as California shifts from years of deep deficits to an expectation of extra funds. Democrats weary of repeated cuts are now jockeying to restore money to their favored programs, while Brown positions himself as the official best equipped to keep lawmakers from his own party in line.
"We can't commit to higher spending than the budget can sustain," said H.D. Palmer, a spokesman for Brown's Department of Finance.
Democratic lawmakers are fueling their larger spending plans with a sunnier financial forecast from the nonpartisan legislative analyst, who says the state will collect $3.2 billion more in tax revenue than the governor estimates.