As Brown pushes savings plan, activists urge more spending

SACRAMENTO -- California activists are taking aim at Gov. Jerry Brown's budget plans, planning a rally at the Capitol on Tuesday calling for an additional $5 billion in spending on education, social services and healthcare for the poor.

The activists say the state needs to restore more spending that was cut during a series of budget crises. For example, government payments to healthcare providers remain at lower levels than before the recession.

Brown has resisted some spending increases, and is focusing his attention on a proposed constitutional amendment to help pay off debt and stockpile tax revenue for future economic downturns.

But activists say the immediate priority shouldn't be saving for the future.

“We believe in rainy day funds, but for a lot of people it’s still raining," said Anthony Wright, who promotes expanded health coverage at Health Access.

To drive their point home, ralliers on Tuesday will be carrying umbrellas.

As of March, California's tax revenue had outpaced expectations in the current fiscal year by roughly $1.4 billion, increasing the opportunity for activists and Democrats to push for more spending.

Last year, they successfully persuaded Brown to phase in new funding for university tuition assistance, welfare payments and dental care for poor adults.

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Twitter: @chrismegerian

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