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Governor’s $33.6-Billion Budget Boosts School Aid

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Associated Press

Gov. George Deukmejian formally submitted a $33.6-billion state spending plan to the Legislature today, including a $1.3-billion increase in local school support that counts an anticipated $240 million from the new state lottery.

The budget proposes a 14.8%, $172-million increase in the state’s $1.1-billion prisons budget and a 9%, $432-million increase in the state’s $4-billion budget for higher education.

Those figures compare to an estimated 3.3% rate of inflation.

Only a handful of state agencies face cuts in dollar amounts of their budgets, although several do not keep pace with inflation. The budget would cut the California Coastal Commission budget from $8.5 million to $6.7 million and trim the Agricultural Labor Relations Board from $8.12 million to $8.09 million.

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‘Blueprint for Management’

Describing his plan as “a blueprint for sound management,” the Republican governor formally submitted his 1,347-page budget for the 1985-86 fiscal year, which begins July 1, to the Democratic-controlled Legislature as aides held briefings for the press and legislative leaders.

As promised in his Tuesday address to the lawmakers, Deukmejian’s proposal is balanced with no new taxes and contains a reserve for emergencies of $1.044 billion.

The proposal is 6.1% larger than the $30.5-billion budget for the current year, but the percentage increases vary from 1.5% in parks, environmental and resources programs to 11.4% for prisons.

Deukmejian asked for a 9.9% increase for public schools, 9% for higher education, and 8.1% for health and welfare programs. He asks for an additional 6.5% for state employee salaries and benefits.

The budget calls for an increase of 2,494 employees in the prison system, offset by a reduction of 8,548 jobs in other state agencies, for an overall reduction of 6,054 state employees, to 227,054.

Biggest cuts are 3,035 jobs--a 23%--in the state Employment Development Department, and elimination of 1,214 jobs from the University of California’s 58,800-person work force.

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Deukmejian also proposed cutbacks averaging slightly over 4% in the number of employees in transportation, health and welfare, and mental health programs, with most of the cutbacks by not replacing employees who quit or retire.

Deukmejian promised that education will continue to be his top budget priority, and public schools are clearly the biggest winner in his budget proposal.

He asked for an $894-million increase in direct state aid to local schools, from $9.3 billion this year to $10.2 billion in the 1985-86 fiscal year.

The budget also forecasts a $180-million increase in local property tax dollars available to public schools, $240 million from the new state lottery and an 18% increase in the state contribution to the State Teachers Retirement System.

Other big winners in Deukmejian’s spending plan are the University of California, up $177 million to $1.6 billion; the 106-campus California Community College system, up $140 million to $1.7 billion, and the California State University system, up $115 million to $1.26 billion.

Education, from kindergarten through college, would receive $15.25 billion of the $33.7-billion budget, followed by health and welfare programs at $8.6 billion, business, transportation and housing at $2.02 billion, and $1.2 billion for prisons.

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