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Governor Jerry Brown proposes $132 billion budget

Jerry Brown unveils his 2017 budget proposal. (AP/2017)

Gov. Jerry Brown has proposed a $132 billion budget for California as he kicks off his final year in office.

That's a 5 percent increase from last year's budget. It represents Brown's typically restrained approach to budgeting.

The budget also includes an additional $59 billion in special funds and bonds which are dedicated to specific purposes.

Brown's proposal is just the first stage of a months-long budget process. Now it heads to the Legislature for revisions. A final spending plan must be signed by the end of June.

In a response to the proposal, Assembly Republican Leader, and District 1 representative, Brian Dahle (R-Bieber) said that the size of the budget shows that taxes are too high.

“It’s a strange world where politicians are celebrating that the government took too much money from taxpayers, but that’s exactly what is happening with this budget surplus. My question is: when do California taxpayers get a break?" said Dahle in a statement.

In his budget presentation, Gov. Jerry Brown warned of an inevitable recession despite California's current strong economy.

He says there have been 10 recessions since World War II and California must prepare now for the 11th.

Brown's budget largely avoids new spending, instead putting $5 billion in surplus money into the state's Rainy Day Fund, much more than is required by the state constitution.

The budget also proposes a new online community college. It does not react to the new tax bill in Washington, but Brown says that will be dealt with throughout the budget negotiating process.

He is expected to act as a brake on spending proposals during the coming five months of budget negotiations with the Democratically controlled Legislature.

Brown is termed out of office next year.

Gov. Jerry Brown is projecting California will raise $643 million in taxes during the first year of recreational marijuana sales through licensed stores. The figure included in Brown's budget proposal Wednesday is less than the $1 billion in revenue that state experts have previously projected.

Brown and the Legislature have little say over spending marijuana taxes, which must be spent according to a formula approved by voters in 2016. Brown says the first $135 million will pay back the general fund for costs of building the state bureaucracy to regulate marijuana.

The voter initiative also requires money for research, mitigating the effects of past criminalization and treatment of drug abuse.

(Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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