What to look for when Gov. Jerry Brown unveils new state budget proposal today
SACRAMENTO — All eyes will be on Gov. Jerry Brown this morning as he unveils his revised state budget proposal — a week after the U.S. House of Representatives heightened anxiety in California with its vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act and slash spending.
In January, as Brown presented a $122.5 billion general fund budget, down slightly from last year, he projected a $1.6 billion deficit without spending cuts. The repeal of the Affordable Care Act — which would need to be approved by the Senate and signed by President Donald Trump — could blast a multi-billion-dollar hole in the state’s budget.
“Over the past four years we have increased spending by billions of dollars for education, health care, child care and other anti-poverty programs,” Brown said in a statement released Thursday morning with his revised, $124 billion general fund budget. “In the coming year, I don’t think even more spending will be possible. We have ongoing pressures from Washington and an economic recovery that won’t last forever.”
California has only until June 15 to pass its budget. So — like in many other states — the federal health-care uncertainty could present big problems down the road.
Here’s what to look for when the budget is released at 10 a.m. today:
Will Brown still project a deficit?
How will Brown’s budget respond to the Affordable Care Act’s potential repeal? In January, he budgeted according to current law, saying there were too many uncertainties to present a backup plan.
Will Brown restore prior funding commitments, such as increasing child-care subsidies and other social services, as advocates hope?
The Legislature has advanced about 130 affordable-housing-related bills, and some would rely on money from the general fund. Brown didn’t include such an investment in his January proposal — will he find the money this time?
Brown wants one of the state’s main climate change programs — “cap-and-trade” — to be extended by the Legislature by a two-thirds vote as part of the budget process. The Senate and the Assembly each have advanced proposals that would significantly change the program in different ways, but lawmakers don’t appear to be close to an agreement. Will the governor weigh in?
Will Brown take the state auditor’s recommendation to set the budget for the UC Office of the President, separating the central administration’s budget from the rest of the university?
Watch the governor’s budget presentation online beginning at 10 a.m. on the CalChannel.