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Trump's budget is 'a complete withdrawal' of working with states, says Gov. Jerry Brown's budget chief

Copies of President Trump's America budget are seen in Washington, D.C. (Shawn Thew / EPA)
Copies of President Trump's America budget are seen in Washington, D.C. (Shawn Thew / EPA)

President Trump's proposed federal budget would dramatically shrink the nation's role in solving important issues in California, according to an early analysis by advisers to Gov. Jerry Brown.

"It's hard to know where to begin," said Brown's budget director, Michael Cohen. "The president's budget proposes a complete withdrawal of the federal government's commitment to working with states to solve the critical issues of the country, from environmental protection and emergency preparedness to transportation and other infrastructure."

Domestic programs from environmental protection efforts to housing assistance could see double-digit percentage cuts in the federal budget the Trump administration unveiled on Thursday.

The broad impact to California from the cuts to a variety of domestic programs could take weeks or months to fully assess, though it's far from clear that Trump's current plan could muster the necessary support in Congress.

Michael Cohen, budget director to Gov. Jerry Brown. (Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)
Michael Cohen, budget director to Gov. Jerry Brown. (Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

Brown administration officials pointed out early concerns about the elimination of community development block grants and limited grant funding for rail and transit projects.

The larger concern for state budget writers is the $66.8 billion in federal healthcare funds assumed in Brown's plan for the fiscal year that begins July 1. Those dollars represent 63% of the federal funds allocated under the state budget, while many of the other dollars are sent directly to local communities. The allotment of healthcare dollars, found in the state's Medi-Cal program, depend less on Trump's budget and more on the fate of the congressional Republican healthcare plan.

The governor lashed out at that proposal Monday, calling it "a really dumb idea" on Twitter.

Budget writers in Sacramento are about to embark on the most consequential part of the year in crafting a fiscal blueprint for the state. But rarely has federal spending been as large of a factor as it could be in 2017.

Brown estimated a $1.6-billion deficit in his January proposal. Tax revenues collected through the middle of April will largely dictate spending decisions made by state lawmakers prior to June 30, the deadline to enact a new budget.

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