Assembly Budget Committee Approves Responsible Spending With Historic Reserves

For immediate release:

(SACRAMENTO, CA) – The Assembly Budget Committee approved the Assembly’s budget for the 2016-2017 fiscal year, setting the stage for final budget negotiations with the Senate and Governor Jerry Brown in the coming weeks leading up to the deadline to pass the state budget by June 15.

“This is a responsible budget for a stronger middle class,” said Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), Chair of the Assembly Budget Committee.  “We have the largest reserves in over three decades along with targeted investments to fight poverty, improve early childhood care and education, expand access to higher education, and to build more affordable housing.”

“Our Budget Committee has done an excellent job at crafting a responsible budget,” said Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount).  “By first setting aside surplus funds, we can responsibly make budget improvements to strengthen early education, fight poverty, address affordable housing, and expand access to higher education.”

Defining elements of the Assembly’s spending plan follow.

  • Building Robust Reserves – Consistent with calls from the Governor and the Legislative Analyst to build robust reserves, the Assembly budget includes an additional $2 billion deposit into the voter approved Rainy Day Fund, with total reserves of $8.5 billion.  This will protect against future economic downturns and minimize the need for future cuts to critical services or tax increases on the middle class.
  • Fighting Poverty – Repeals the Maximum Family Grant rule, which punishes children born into poverty, and does so with no permanent General Fund costs.  The plan also funds the second year of California’s Earned Income Tax Credit and funds the phase in of the $15 minimum wage increase adopted earlier this year.
  • Investing in Education
    • $618 million to expand access to early childhood care and education.
    • K-12 – Begins process of developing financial incentives for school districts to provide full day Kindergarten.  Provides $3 billion to further implement school funding reforms under the Local Control Funding Formula.
    • Higher Education - Increases California State University funding by $101 million over the Governor’s proposal to expand student enrollment and to improve student services.  Begins a multi-year process to increase California student enrollment at the University of California.  Increases the number of Cal Grants for financially needy students, and funds the Middle Class Scholarship to reduce tuition for lower and middle income students by 30% at our public universities.
  • Cleaning Our Air and Water – Provides a $3.1 billion Cap and Trade spending plan along with $16 million to advance the human right to water, and $334.5 million for drought response.  $465 million in Proposition 1 funds for state commitments for Klamath Agreements ($250 million), Central Valley Project Improvement Act ($90 million), Salton Sea ($80 million), and San Joaquin River Settlements ($45 million).
  • Expanding Economic Development and Affordable Housing – Approves Governor’s proposal for $1.5 billion infrastructure plan programmed over four years, along with $500 million for deferred maintenance projects at state buildings.  Provides a one-time $650 million appropriation for affordable housing, $20 million to expand housing services for CalWORKs families, and continues $200 million of Cap and Trade funds for affordable housing.
  • Safer Communities – Repurposes Governor’s proposed $250 million for local jails and uses these funds to:  increase access to justice; provide services to homeless, victims of sex trafficking, rape, and domestic violence; provide law enforcement, first responders, and community groups access to life saving drugs to reverse opioid overdoses; fund regional crime task forces to confront crime spikes; provide job training and educational services to ex-offenders; and reimburse law enforcement for costs associated with training and deployment of body cameras.  A new revolving fund to aid in seismic safety retrofits of buildings is also created.
  • Oversight – Adopts a cap for out-of-state enrollment at the University of California and provides a path for the system to expand in-state enrollment.  Reduces administrative costs at State Board of Equalization by cutting budgets for executive, external affairs, and office leases by 25%.  Makes the Department of Motor Vehicles register voters in a one-step process.

Further information about the Assembly’s plan is available here.  Quotes from Assembly budget leadership follow.

“Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 1 on Health and Human Services has taken momentous actions that will help those with the greatest needs.  We have made smart investments in programs, like Maximum Family Grant, CalWORKS Housing Support and the Dental Disease Prevention Program, which in the long term, will reduce costs to the State.  The subcommittee budget increases access to quality medical care, supports our seniors, and improves the lives of those who need the help.”
-Assemblymember Tony Thurmond (D- Richmond), Chair, Assembly Budget Subcommittee #1 on Health and Human Services

“This is a great P-16 education budget and rightfully invests in California’s future.  Our early care and education plan expands preschool and childcare access, eligibility, and quality.  Our K-12 plan puts more money into public schools, after school programs, and strategically addresses our state’s teacher shortage.  For higher education, we increase access for career tech and enrollment at community colleges; and increase access to the UC and CSU by 17,000 students -- focusing the UC’s goals on access for Californian students.”
- Assemblymember Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento), Chair, Assembly Budget Subcommittee #2 on Education Finance

“Addressing the impacts that the historic five-year drought has had on communities throughout the state and continuing to focus on reducing congestion so that people spend less time in their cars and more time with their families continued to be a priority in this budget proposal  as it has for the last three years.  Significant investments in the areas of water recycling, water deliveries, and environmental protection including improved wildfire response will assist many who have been ravaged by our drought.  Additionally, investments in public transit, bicycling, and pedestrians pathways and other active transportation opportunities will go a long way in improving the quality of life for many communities.”
- Assemblymember Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica), Chair, Assembly Budget Subcommittee #3 on Natural Resources and Transportation

“Our budget proposal strengthens the foundation of California’s middle class; creating jobs, protecting property and lives, and investing in our future.  We are making an unprecedented investment in affordable housing and providing incentives to seismically strengthen homes in the event of an earthquake.”
- Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian (D-Sherman Oaks), Chair, Assembly Budget Subcommittee #4 on State Administration

“My goal was to create a budget that is reflective of the real world safety needs that we have throughout the State. This is a plan that puts a strong emphasis on funding services that will support victims, reduce recidivism, and increase access to justice. At the end of the day California will be a much safer place to raise our families because of the investments we are putting forward.”
- Assemblymember Nora Campos (D-San Jose), Chair, Assembly Budget Subcommittee #5 on Public Safety