Gov. Jerry Brown and the leaders of the state Senate and
Assembly on Tuesday praised their budget deal as a restrained spending plan that
spends more on education while building toward restoring social services cut
during the recession.
"This is a real step forward," Brown said at a 2 p.m. press conference in the Capitol. "California is focusing in this budget on improving the health care of the people of our state and improving educational opportunity, while we're living in balance."
Brown, Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and Assembly Speaker John Perez reached the budget deal Monday and it was cleared by a legislative budget committee later that night. It assumes Brown's lower revenue and spending estimates while billions of dollars from recent tax increases would fund K-12 education and a few hundred-million dollars would patch over previous cuts to the social safety net.
"California's budget is balanced, our economy is improving and we're back in the position of making long-term plans for our state," Perez said. "This is a tremendous accomplishment for the people of California."
Also Tuesday, a major state worker union, the Service Employees International Union, announced a tentative deal with the state for across-the-board 4.5 percent pay hikes starting in July 2014. Brown called the deal "fair."
The Senate and Assembly expect to vote on the budget Friday, a day before its statutory deadline, and Brown
will have 15 days to sign or veto it before the fiscal year begins on July 1.
"Ho hum, another on-time, balanced budget in California," Steinberg joked. "This is the third year in a row, and this one feels better than even the first two."
If passed Friday, it would be the earliest the Legislature adopts a spending plan since June 13, 1986. The budget has been late many time since, complicating funding for schools and other local agencies. But voters in 2010 allowed lawmakers to pass a budget with a simple majority, instead of a super-majority, paving the way for on-time budgets in the years since.
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