The California Budget Project (CBP) earlier today released its initial analysis of Governor Brown’s proposed 2014-15 state budget. The following is the introduction and summary of this analysis. The CBP will prepare further analyses of major proposals contained in the budget in the upcoming days and weeks. Please check the CBP website and this blog for all the latest.
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On Thursday, January 9, Governor Jerry Brown released his proposed 2014-15 budget, reflecting a total of $6.3 billion in unanticipated revenues from 2012-13 to 2014-15, driven primarily by growth in personal income tax revenues.
Growing state revenues and an improved fiscal outlook present California policymakers with a range of options for how best to build pathways to opportunity and broadly shared prosperity. The Governor’s proposal emphasizes paying down budgetary debt and longer-term liabilities and creates a new rainy day fund. The Governor’s proposal also includes the ongoing state-led expansion of Medi-Cal, adopted in the 2013-14 budget, and additional spending for restructuring of school finance, also approved last year, to provide additional dollars to support disadvantaged students.
While the Governor’s proposed budget calls for some significant improvements in a number of areas, it represents only a modest step toward reinvestment in public services that are critical to individuals, families, and communities. The Administration’s proposal does not include any major restorations in funding for a variety of areas that were subject to deep cuts in recent years, including child care and preschool programs — which lost more than 100,000 slots in prior years — the CalWORKs welfare-to-work program, and higher education, among others. At a time when poverty and long-term unemployment are still high in many parts of the state, increased funding for these programs is needed to support the many Californians still hurting in the wake of the Great Recession.
The Governor’s budget proposal would move the state forward in some significant ways, yet represents an incomplete vision for investing in California’s future. By leaving too many core public systems and supports operating at historically low levels, the proposal fails to provide a platform for growth that benefits all Californians.