SACRAMENTO (AP) — California lawmakers have scheduled a vote Monday on a $117.5 billion spending plan that increases social spending for the poor even though Gov. Jerry Brown hasn’t signed off on that version of the budget.
The Legislature’s two Democratic leaders say theirs is a responsible budget that sets aside money for a rainy day, pays down debt and boosts schools. They are hoping to get Brown’s blessing to spend an additional $749 million for the fiscal year that begins July 1.
But Brown, also a Democrat, is reluctant to go along with new spending commitments in welfare, health care and child care. He and Republicans are concerned that the state won’t collect as much in taxes, leaving the state more vulnerable when the next economic downturn hits.
This means that even if a budget is passed Monday, negotiations will continue in the days ahead. Here’s a look at where things stand:
• WHAT DO THE GOVERNOR AND LAWMAKERS AGREE ON?
There’s a lot of common ground between Brown and lawmakers. Both sides are calling for billions in additional spending for public schools, setting aside money in the state’s rainy day fund, paying down debt and adopting a new earned income tax credit to help as many as 2 million Californians.
In-state tuition at the University of California won’t rise for most undergraduates for two years. In exchange, the state will increase the university’s budget by $120 million, or 4 percent, and send more money to UC’s pension fund.
The budget also calls for funding increases at the California State University system to enroll more community college transfer students and get more students to earn their bachelor’s degrees in four years.
• WHAT ARE THE STICKING POINTS?
Brown proposed a $115.3 billion budget, but Democrats have crafted a $117.5 billion spending plan by assuming the state will collect more tax revenues than the governor estimates.
Democrats are using that extra revenue to justify spending $749 million more next year on programs to help the poor. They want to boost child care, health care, welfare and higher education, among other programs.
• WHAT’S NOT IN THE BUDGET?
The governor and legislative leaders said they were unable to reach agreement on how to spend a growing pot of money collected from the state’s landmark effort to curb greenhouse gas emissions. Taking the cap-and-trade funding out of the budget will give them more time to negotiate a way to spend that money.
• WHY IS THERE A VOTE MONDAY IF THERE’S NO DEAL?
Lawmakers want to continue getting paid. Under Proposition 25 passed by voters in 2010, state lawmakers have to pass a balanced budget by June 15 or forfeit pay.