Praise, concerns in legislative report on Brown's budget proposal

SACRAMENTO -- Legislative analysts praised Gov. Jerry Brown's new budget proposal on Monday, saying a mix of new taxes, a stronger economy and debt repayment has left California with a brighter financial future.

"The governor’s proposal would place California on an even stronger fiscal footing, continuing California’s budgetary progress," said the report from the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office. 

The report also praises Brown for proposing a $1.6-billion payment into the state's rainy day fund, which could help insulate California from future financial problems.

"In general, setting aside money for a rainy day is exactly what the state should be doing when revenues are soaring, as they are now," the report said. The legislative analysts also leave open the possibility of Sacramento seeing another surge in tax revenue over the next several months, although they caution it could be a temporary increase.

Nonetheless, the report expresses some concerns Brown's budget proposal. For instance, it says the governor should put more money toward the cash-strapped teacher pension fund.

Legislative analysts continue to be wary of using cap-and-trade money for bullet train construction. Brown has proposed using $250 million in the upcoming fiscal year, but the report says it's "legally risky."

Because the train won't be up and running for years, it wouldn't help the cap-and-trade program's goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.

Reports from the Legislative Analyst's Office can be influential during budget negotiations. Last year the office said Brown's revenue estimates were too low, providing fodder for Democrats who wanted the state to spend more on healthcare and social services.

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Twitter: @chrismegerian

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