Governor and lawmakers say budget marks progress

Gov. Jerry Brown in May.
(Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)
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SACRAMENTO -- Celebrating what he characterized as California’s new financial health as he signed the state budget, Gov. Jerry Brown also said Thursday that there was still work to be done.

“I don’t say all problems are over,” Brown told reporters at a Capitol news conference. “But the budget is balanced” after years of financial crisis.

California continues to face what the governor has repeatedly called a “wall of debt” as he appealed to the Legislature for fiscal restraint.


But the budget deal he struck with legislative leaders includes more money for schools, public universities and social services as well as an expansion of healthcare to conform with President Obama’s national overhaul. The spending plan takes effect Monday.

The Assembly and Senate leaders joined Brown on Thursday, celebrating what they said was an emergence from the fiscal woods after many years of deep cuts in government services.

“Today represents great progress,” said Senate leader Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento). “Real people hurt for so long will get some help.”

Assembly Speaker John A. Perez (D-Los Angeles) said the budget “begins the process of reinvestment and growth in our state.”

Lawmakers approved $96.3 billion in spending for the next fiscal year after a series of relatively smooth negotiations with Brown.



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Twitter: @ChrisMegerian