Gov. Jerry Brown signs rare, on-time state budget
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Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law Thursday a state budget pact struck with Democratic lawmakers that will curb services the state offers, marking only the second time California has enacted an on-time and balanced spending plan in a decade.
Democratic lawmakers had passed the $131-billion plan earlier this week, using a new voter-approved law that allowed them to do so with a simple majority vote. They bridged the final $4 billion of what began the year as a more than $25 billion deficit by adopting a rosier revenue forecast. If that money fails to materialize, the state will chop deeper into the budgets of prisons, universities and courts, and cut up to seven days off the school year.
Already, the $86-billion general fund spending plan contains severe cuts, including reductions of about 23% to the state’s universities, raising the price of medical care for the poor, closing senior centers, and cutting welfare grants and cash aid for the elderly and disabled. A total of 70 state parks are slated for closure, community college fees are on the rise and mental health programs will be sharply trimmed.
Republican lawmakers, whose voted are needed for taxes, resisted Brown’s and the Democrats’ entreaties to extend temporary taxes on sales and cars that will now expire on Friday, the first day of the new fiscal year.
-- Shane Goldmacher in Sacramento