First Look: The 2015-16 State Budget

Executive Summary

On June 24, Governor Jerry Brown signed the 2015-16 state budget package. First Look The 2015-16 State Budget First Page 06.29.2015This budget calls for $115 billion in spending from the General Fund for the fiscal year beginning July 1 and makes several significant advances. It creates California’s first-ever state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) as an “add on” to the successful federal EITC. The budget also expands comprehensive public health care coverage to undocumented immigrant children from low-income families.

The 2015-16 budget package also allocates billions of dollars as required by voter-approved ballot measures. The budget includes $68.4 billion for K-12 schools, community colleges, and the state preschool program as part of the minimum funding guarantee under Proposition 98 of 1988, a significant increase from the post-recession low point of $47.3 billion in 2011-12. Under Proposition 2, the rainy day fund measure approved by voters in 2014, the new state budget sets aside $3.7 billion in 2015-16 for paying down budgetary debt and building the state’s reserve.

Other advances include funding for more than 16,000 additional subsidized child care and preschool slots; a boost in spending for adult education and career technical education; greater support for services for children in the child welfare system; and the creation of a debt amnesty program for people with overdue court-ordered fines. The 2015-16 budget package also holds tuition levels flat at CSU and UC, while providing both with modest funding increases. The advances reflected in the 2015-16 state budget add to those made in recent years, including new revenues provided by Proposition 30’s temporary tax increases and the expansion of Medi-Cal as part of federal health care reform.

At the same time, however, the state’s economic gains remain uneven, and the budget package leaves much undone in rebuilding critical safety net services battered by cuts during and after the Great Recession. The budget fails to significantly strengthen the state’s welfare-to-work program, maintains cash assistance for low-income seniors and people with disabilities at recession-era lows, and leaves in place previous cuts to Medi-Cal payment rates and benefits. Despite its advances, the 2015-16 budget lacks a strategy for reinvesting in vital supports for millions of Californians not sharing in the state’s prosperity.

Download full report (PDF) or use the links below to browse individual sections:

Tax Credit for Low-Income Workers (EITC)
Services for Undocumented Immigrants
Projected Revenues
K-12 Schools and Community Colleges
Adult Education and Career Training Programs
State Universities (CSU and UC)
Cal Grants and Middle Class Scholarships
Early Care and Education
Foster Youth Services
Supports and Services for Families With Children (CalWORKs)
Special Sessions: Funding for Health and Human Services and Transportation
Support for Seniors and People With Disabilities (SSI/SSP)
Services for People With Developmental Disabilities
In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS)
Medi-Cal and School-Based Dental Services
“Cap and Trade” Allocation
State Corrections
Courts and Local Law Enforcement