Jan. 18, 2018: LA SENTINEL - Governor Brown's Proposed 2018-2019 Budget met with Mixed Reviews

January 18, 2018

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By Niele Anderson, Contributing Writer 

Governor Jerry Brown’s proposed 2018-19 fiscal year budget projects California will have $6.1 billion in extra funds including greater spending on education and transportation. His total general fund proposal spends $131.7 billion.  

California Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon and Sen. Holly J. Mitchell, chair of the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee responded to the governor’s budget LIVE on You Tube.  Mitchell stated, “The governor’s budget reflects some positive investments related to education, special education, increased funding to the local control school funding formula, Career Technical Education Funding at the community colleges.” 

While Brown’s budget makes a huge emphasis on education Jane Lose Conoley, president, Long Beach State University had this to say, “As lawmakers deliberate on the budget proposal, it is important they fully understand the demand to gain access to an affordable, high-quality college degree is outpacing state investment in the California State University. For the 2018 fall semester, Long Beach State University received a record-breaking 103,000 applications. Under this funding scenario, the campus will be forced to turn away tens of thousands of CSU-eligible students.” 
The Governor also proposes an all-online community college by 2019, if the line item in the proposed budget makes the final cut.  Brown also included in his budget a 12 billion spending plan for the state’s prison and parole system including new money to train ex-felons to become firefighters. 

California’s for Safety and Justice a nonprofit campaign advocating to replace justice system waste with common sense solutions; responded: “the $12 billion the governor is proposing we spend on corrections next year represents an increase of well over 500 percent since 1981. Excessive prison spending and over-incarceration not only prevents California from resolving the crises in our communities that give rise to crime, but it also plays a significant role in exacerbating the cycle of crime. The organization further stated, “That’s why the increased amount of savings from Prop. 47 are so critical. By shifting dollars away from incarceration and into our local communities, we are finally beginning to address the acute community needs that are actively contributing to the cycle of crime. It is imperative that we bring balance back to our state’s public safety investments”. 

California’s newest budget addition marijuana taxes which launched Jan. 1, will bring in about $643 million, Brown predicted.  Brown and lawmakers have little say on how the money is used; it’s dictated by a formula passed by voters in 2016. The formula includes spending on marijuana research, drug rehabilitation programs and helping communities disproportionately affected by past drug laws. 

Poverty and homelessness assistance was also in the budget and is a high priority for Senator Mitchell who also stated, “We will now begin the detailed work of analyzing the impacts to existing programs, government operations and services. As it relates to poverty, the governor stated that unlike other states, California has a good system of support, but it is modest. Here, modesty is not good enough.” 

Brown must sign a budget by June 30, giving him and lawmakers about five months to negotiate, modify, adjust and replace budget items. Brown’s budget does not reflect last year’s federal tax changes out of Washington, which are expected to hit taxpayers in high-tax states like California the hardest.  

For more information about the California 2018-2019 budget visit http://www.ebudget.ca.gov