State revenue has rocketed far beyond projections, providing a
$6.6 billion windfall that Gov. Jerry Brown wants to use to boost
education spending and help repair California’s battered
State revenue has rocketed far beyond projections, providing a $6.6 billion windfall that Gov. Jerry Brown wants to use to boost education spending and help repair California’s battered finances.
In the revised budget plan Brown releases Monday morning, education spending would increase by about $3 billion over what he proposed in January. But Brown still hopes to maintain tax increases that are due to expire this year.
The governor’s budget says the revenue surge, which erases a substantial chunk of what had been a $15-billion deficit, is not enough to put the state in the black.
Lawmakers are required by law to divert a substantial portion of any revenue spike to schools, unless they suspend the state funding formula, which Brown is not proposing.
The governor’s plan calls for use of the remaining extra revenue to scale back his proposed tax increases and to restore a state program that provides tax credits to businesses that hire workers from blighted neighborhoods, among other things.
The plan also calls for the elimination of 43 boards and commissions, several of which pay six-figure salaries to their members and have been labeled patronage posts by critics.
“I don’t want to continue the games and gimmicks of the past,” Brown said as he presented his plan in a morning news conference at the Capitol. “We have a serious structural deficit now and into the future unless we cure it.”
Brown warned that the state was facing a “wall of debt” that will undermine its ability to fund crucial government programs into the future. He said his plan was cautious with taxpayer dollars, saying it represented the lowest rate of government spending as compared to per capita wealth since the early 1970s.