CALIFORNIA, US.- Gov. Jerry Brown proposed a $137.6 billion general fund budget for California Friday amid surging revenues, 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, proposing to set aside $14 billion in California’s rainy day fund “to weather a storm that will be more like $60 billion.” The Democratic governor warned that the revenue is “not in the bank” but “it is a prediction.”
Brown’s revised budget projects an $8.8 billion surplus, the largest since at least the 2000-01 state budget year. The surplus increased nearly $3 billion from the figure budget officials projected in January because revenue during the busy April tax-filing season came in higher than expected.
Brown has repeatedly warned that California is riding a wave of economic growth and the budgetary good times will eventually end. He has generally resisted new ongoing spending on social services that he says can’t be sustained and said he’s determined to leave his successor a state in good fiscal condition.
“All the people who want things won’t be getting what they’d like to have,” Brown said, warning that the state is “on the peaks and we’re about to head down into the valleys.” He compared the state’s usual fiscal cycle to riding a tiger, with programs expanded in good times only to be chopped during recessions. “It’s a hell of a way to run a railroad,” he said.
Still, on Friday he proposed $2 billion for infrastructure, including universities, courts, state facilities and flood control and $359 million to help local governments address homelessness. But he’s facing pressure to boost funding on a wide variety of legislative priorities including higher education, child care and firefighting.