SACRAMENTO -- Top Democratic lawmakers have agreed to use Gov. Jerry Brown's more conservative tax revenue estimates in the budget, according to Capitol sources.
The sources requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.
The result is a significant victory for the governor, who has sought to limit spending increases. Democrats in the Legislature had initially pushed to use higher revenue estimates released by the legislative analyst, who projected $3.2 billion more in tax revenue than Brown did.
Revenue estimates provide a framework for the entire state spending plan. Brown had been insistent on using the lower numbers, saying relying too much on stock market improvements could be dangerous for California's finances.
"I'm not willing to bet on capital gains and Wall Street," Brown said last month. "We've been disappointed too often."
The budget will still include more spending than the governor originally wanted, sources said. Senate leader Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) was able to insert money for mental health programs, and Assembly Speaker John A. Perez landed funding to lower tuition costs at California universities for some students.
Brown agreed to reduce the amount of money the state will repay to schools, sources said. Payments to what the governor refers to as the "wall of debt" – obligations that built up during years of budget crisis -- are expected to decrease by hundreds of millions of dollars.
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