SACRAMENTO -- Bolstered by higher revenue estimates from the legislative analyst, the Senate budget committee on Friday advanced a spending plan that differs from Gov. Jerry Brown's in a number of significant ways.
Democratic senators, sometimes with Republican support, agreed to restore funding for dental care for poor adults, increase spending on mental health programs and improve career education in high schools.
The decisions closely mirror priorities set by Senate leader Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento), and they increase spending several hundred million dollars above what Brown included in his revised budget proposal last week.
"We're concerned about rising spending," said Michael Cohen, a deputy at Brown's Department of Finance. The governor's revenue forecast has $3.2 billion less tax money than the estimate released by the nonpartisan legislative analyst.
Senate Democrats also continued to push their own school funding formula, which would send more money to more schools than the governor proposed.
On Tuesday, the Assembly budget committee will review its own budget plan, which also uses the higher tax estimate from the legislative analyst but spends the money differently.
An outline circulated on Friday shows increases in spending for child care and welfare, as well as cuts to college costs for students from middle-class families, a priority for Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles).
The plan includes a fallback if the higher revenue, which rely on continued improvements in the stock market, don't materialize. In that case, the state would return less money it owes to school districts.
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