Governor Brown proposes $138 billion California budget

Gov. Jerry Brown has proposed a $137.6 billion general fund budget for California as revenues continue to surge.

Brown released his spending plan Friday, kicking off his last round of negotiations with Democratic legislative leaders.

Brown's latest budget is up nearly $6 billion from his earlier proposal in January. The Democratic governor wants to save most of the surplus to protect spending during a future recession. But he proposed $2 billion for infrastructure, including universities, courts, state facilities and flood control and $359 million for homelessness.

Gov. Jerry Brown says it's easy to get "giddy" over California's projected budget surplus, but says he's determined to leave the most responsible fiscal condition he can for his successor.

The proposed spending plan Brown released Friday would set aside $13 billion in California's rainy day fund for the next recession.

He's also still pushing for a new online community college to train working adults who don't have the time and flexibility for a traditional college program.

Legislative Democrats and outside interest groups are pushing to boost funding for health care, higher education, welfare, child care and a wide variety of other initiatives.

The Democratic governor last pegged the surplus at $6.1 billion in January and proposed spending almost none of it. He preferred to direct all but $300 million to reserves.

Since then, revenue during the busy April tax-filing season came in even higher than expected.

Brown has consistently warned that California is riding a wave of economic growth and the budgetary good times will eventually end. But he's facing pressure to increase funding on a wide variety of legislative priorities including higher education, child care and firefighting.

Republicans in the California Legislature are generally praising Gov. Jerry Brown's fiscal prudence in the budget proposal released Friday.

Assembly Republican Leader Brian Dahle of Bieber says California should focus on paying down state debts, building rainy-day reserves and preparing the state's infrastructure for the future.

“Obviously, I’d like to see taxpayers get that money back, but once the government gets ahold of your money, it’s impossible to get them to let go," concluded Dahle.

Senate Budget Vice-Chair Senator Jim Nielsen (R-Tehama) and Assemblyman James Gallagher (R-Yuba City) thanked the governor in a joint statement for levee funding.

“We thank the Governor for heeding our and our constituents’ call to fund the repairs of the damaged levees. The increased funding of $125 million for levee repair and maintenance is welcome news to our communities," said the statement.

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