Jerry Brown Withholds UC Money After Audit Reveals Secret Account

Tabitha Dunn
May 13, 2017

The recovery, coupled with voter approval of a multibillion-dollar tax hike, mostly on the wealthy, allowed Brown to balance the state budget, which had been hemorrhaging red ink, pay down a "wall of debt", build a "rainy day fund", and sharply boost politically popular spending on K-12 schools. "They're going to have to do penance for it".

Brown, who stuck to his tradition of relying on a series of large poster-board sized charts to make his point about fiscal caution, said California's roller-coaster revenue system will undoubtedly again plunge the state budget into deep deficits.

The budget increased 2.2 percent from January's version for a total of $183 billion.

Assemblywoman Sabrina Cervantes, D-Corona, praised the governor for submitting "a budget that is responsible and balanced", adding that she was particularly pleased that the revised spending blueprint included $18 million for the Jurupa Area Recreation and Park District.

On Wednesday, State Controller Betty Yee said revenues through April for the fiscal year that began last July were $1.83 billion below initial estimates. "Voters were promised that these tax revenues would be used to pay for health care, dental care and education, yet the Governor's plan ignores that and redirects it for other purposes".

"Gov. Brown and his fellow Democrats are already diverting funding to their own pet projects", she said.

Brown also wants to reverse a proposed $500 million cut for low-income childcare that he sought in January and revise his proposal to shift almost $600 million in costs to counties.

Trying to close the perceived gap, the governor in January proposed eliminating billions of dollars allocated to education, state building construction, subsidized housing, college scholarships and child care providers.

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Among the increases: $1.4 billion more to K-12 schools; $500 million - as promised a year ago - for additional subsidized child care; and $400 million to counties to offset the cost of In-Home Supportive Services, which the governor has proposed shifting from the state to the counties. Brown said the state would use the money to "hold their feet to the fire" to make sure UC, led by former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, follows the recommendations. He has led California to adopt some of the most ambitious anti-pollution policies in the United States, even as President Donald Trump's administration in Washington works to boost the USA coal industry and threatens to pull out of the Paris climate accord. In budget revisions released on Thursday, Brown's office proposed a $6.5 million increase for California's Department of Justice, enough to fund 31 positions to address "various actions taken at the federal level that impact public safety, healthcare, the environment, consumer affairs and general constitutional issues".

The proposal also restores a $500 million increase in child care subsidies, raising the rates paid to providers to keep up with the state's rising minimum wage.

The Democratic governor asked for an additional $6.5 million to help state Attorney General Xavier Becerra - who Brown appointed - in likely legal confrontations with the federal government.

"I am not in the business of opining on my colleagues", Brown said.

Brown is seeking to increase K-12 education funding by $3 billion compared to the current fiscal year, translating to about $4,058 per student, according to the governor's office.

Other budget tweaks relate to the soaking California experienced this year. State officials have put repairs at $275 million. A stopgap federal spending bill, meanwhile, passed Congress with bipartisan support and maintained existing federal funding for state programs.

Brown is giving ground a little on child care and is cushioning a potential $600 million hit on counties for in-home aid to the infirm but is spurning demands for expanding the earned income tax credit for the working poor and other Democratic spending priorities.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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