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Gov. Brown Unveils Balanced Budget

Jerry Brown says budget deficit has been erased as he allots more money for schools and colleges

Gov. Jerry Brown released a state budget for next fiscal year that is balanced and allocates more money for education.

According to the Sacramento Bee, Brown's $97 billion proposed budget for 2013-2014 has a $1 billion reserve, leading the governor to declare the state budget deficit has disappeared for the first time since the recession began.

A legislative analyst last fall had projected a $1.9 billion deficit, despite voters' approval in November of an income tax hike on high earners and a temporary hike in the sales tax.

An improving economy and higher tax revenues have erased that deficit.

Spending in the governor's 2013 budget would rise by 5 percent over the 2012-2013 budget, according to a Reuters report.

Nonetheless, the governor cautioned California cannot go back to previous spending levels. For example, Brown said he is unwilling to restore funding for some social programs that have been cut in recent years.

"It is best to maintain a very solid budget and a good reserve... or we'll go back to the boom and bust, borrow and spend," Brown was quoted by the Bee as saying.

The governor does recommend adding $125 million to both the state university and the state college system. As part of that, Brown wants colleges and universities to cap the number of classes students can take.

The governor also is recommending an additional $2.7 billion for local schools and community colleges, increasing the total education budget to $56 billion, the Bee reported.

As part of that extra funding, Brown is asking for a financial overhaul of the California school system, according to the Bee.

State Superintendent Tom Torlakson said he believes the governor is on the right track.

“The governor’s budget proposal keeps the promise we made to Californians who supported Proposition 30 and wisely begins to restore some of what our schools have lost. It will take years to bring our education system back to financial health and I applaud the governor for beginning that work in earnest," said Torlakson.

He added, “I admire the governor’s determination to move forward with an overhaul of California’s confusing system of school finance and I share his desire to direct more help to students and schools with the greatest needs. At the same time, I remain concerned about the fragile fiscal state of so many school districts and preserving state priorities. I look forward to examining details of the governor’s proposal and working closely with the education community throughout this challenging process.”

State Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla (D-Concord), the chair of the budget subcommittee on education finance, also praised the governor's efforts.

“This is the ‘live within our means’ budget proposal that Governor Brown has promised, and I applaud and support the general direction the Governor is taking," said Bonilla. "Focusing on the core functions of government, increasing funding for K-12 education while providing flexibility for local school districts, and stronger investment in higher education and financial support for needy students."

State Sen. Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord) also praised the governor's budget.

“Governor Brown’s announcement today of a budget with a surplus and increases in public education spending is a welcome sign of our state’s improving fiscal status,” Senator Mark DeSaulnier said. “I have seen firsthand as Democratic legislators have voted to make tough cuts to restore fiscal order. With our budget deficit closed, it is time to begin reinvesting in the most vital programs in our state, paying down our debt, and continuing to rebuild a stronger post-recession California. As we begin to pay down our debt and reinvest in critical programs, we must do so in a strategic and thoughtful manner. Governmental oversight and keeping a vigilant eye on spending must remain top priorities. I agree with the governor’s view that 2013 should be a year of fiscal discipline and living within our means.”

State Sen. Lois Wolk (D-Davis), whose district includes part of central Contra Costa County, also supported the governor's budget plan.

“I agree with the governor’s cautious approach with this year’s budget. While the governor was successful in persuading voters to pass Proposition 30 and has hopefully addressed the state’s structural deficit, we must continue to work to increase efficiency, transparency, and accountability throughout state government," siad Wolk. "That is the only way to restore the public’s confidence in the state’s ability to spend their tax dollars wisely."

Wolk also supported the governor's plan to strengthen the state's Enterprise Zone program, which is designed to encourage economic development.

The state Legislature still has to approve the governor's budget plan. Democrats now have two-third majorities in both the Assembly and state Senate.

The budget takes effect July 1.

You can see the entire budget proposal on the state financial office's website here.

c5 January 11, 2013 at 08:11 PM
bingo. i for one am already making changes to behavior. i would hate to leave entirely, but at some point that becomes a real option. there are some pretty nice places to live in this country with low or zero state income tax rates.
c5 January 11, 2013 at 08:14 PM
what did you expect when you voted for prop 30? it wasn't good policy to begin with, so stuff like this should come as no surprise if you look at who california put into office. this will be disastrous for state schools which suffer from a lot of things more important than additional funding. we will bring the good school districts down and we won't raise up the poorer districts.
Dan Buckles January 11, 2013 at 08:34 PM
Then why do we have more millionaires here than in say, like Texas? There is a reason and that it is because we have clean air and a public sector that serves the people. Taxing businesses is a bad thing but taxing rich people who produce nothing is a great thing..............Also taxing large corporations that are monopolies creates more competition and keeps things in balance.........
Dan Buckles January 11, 2013 at 08:36 PM
And for you conservatives who think your party is the party of fiscal responsiblity. I remember the Republicans saying how disastrous it would be for the US to completely pay off its National Debt. Allan Greenspan testified to Congress to this effect. This was in the early days of Bush 2 when it appeared possible to actually pay off the debt. Where were the present voices decrying the debt then? The Debt only scares them when a Democrat is in office.
Eastofthehills January 11, 2013 at 08:58 PM
I voted against all the tax increases; hate to say told you so... Lamorinda always gets screwed on these things; basically here's the story: 1. Vote for prop X if you care about your children's schools! 2. Prop X passes 3. We pay for prop X taxes 4. Sacramento: Your schools don't need the money as much as the inner city 5. Lamorinda: PTA/Boosters: We need you to donate money to preserve the ABC program in our schools! 6. Write check to PTA/boosters What it could/should have been: 1. Prop X fails; no new taxes 2. Sacramento: Your schools don't need the money as much as the inner city 3. Lamorinda: PTA/Boosters: We need you to donate money to preserve the ABC program in our schools! 4. Write check to PTA/boosters Basically our schools would have been the same without prop 30.
Cheryll January 13, 2013 at 11:20 PM
"thumbs up" Dan!
Cheryll January 13, 2013 at 11:29 PM
Lol, soaking the rich.... hahahahaa out of touch. completely.
Cheryll January 13, 2013 at 11:34 PM
ever tour a low income school? how long have you lamrodans had computers in your schools compared to in those other schools? You shouldnt complain what you dont know about. Instead, make a point of realizing what he is talking about. I bet you would support it then. California is 50th in the Nation on MANY fronts, including having librarians in the schools. Missing any teachers or librarians in Lamorinda? I doubt it.
Cheryll January 13, 2013 at 11:38 PM
Prop 30 was the right thing to do for children, for education and for the future of California. As a whole. Because everybody should have an education... Food at lunchtime, books to study from. I dont see a lot of hurting going on in the Laf/Orinda/Moraga areas....taxes should ALWAYS be spent where they are most needed.
c5 January 14, 2013 at 03:05 PM
out of touch how? are you going to start spouting off about how low taxes are? california has by far the highest top income tax rate in the country. how is that out of touch?
c5 January 14, 2013 at 03:07 PM
cheryll, we should have raised taxes on everyone in california in that case..that would have been the fair way to raise money...everyone pays, if you think that in theory everyone will benefit.
Chris Nicholson January 14, 2013 at 03:19 PM
Cheryll says "taxes should ALWAYS be spent where they are most needed." But why limit your statement to taxes? Taxes (beyond a low per capital amount to sustain core gov't functions) are just the tool we have to reallocate resources from the "disproportionate extractors" of wealth to those in greater need. We collectively decide the level of taxation. Why not say that all MONEY/resources should be directed on the basis of "most need?" Would that not create a more equal society? And isn't that the goal? Surely equality is better than prosperity/freedom. You must have a few shekels left after taxes that could be better spent than per your selfish choices, right? Can I get a thumbs up?
Cindy January 14, 2013 at 05:02 PM
Hey Chris, You are correct that everyone believes that they are not rich and so any tax on the rich would not touch them so they continue to vote for these increase with the belief they will benefit from someone's elses pocketbook. That is dead wrong. The Social security tax increase that just went into effect will hit the working poor at a much higher rate then a higher income. The rich will figure a way to divert their income as to avoid higher taxes because they can afford to higher people to do that. There is plenty of money out there right now to cover all we need. Unfortunately until we get rid of the greed, ignorance, hate, belief "other peoples money belongs to you to", and start applying accountability and morals we will continue to have these concersations.
Cindy January 14, 2013 at 05:06 PM
If you believe the propaganda that California is not a high tax state for business ..please read in Sunday 1-13-13 Other Views Column a article written by Dan Morian regarding Lobbyist moving to Texas so they can start recruiting businesses from California. If you love this state then you need to start paying attention to those nuts in Sacramento and where their loyalty lies.
c5 January 14, 2013 at 05:13 PM
the rich can always leave california or put their business where the regulatory and tax climate is more favorable...which would be just about anywhere. it's a shame that we collectively think it has become ok to rely almost solely on other people's money for provision of public services...personally i think it is important that everyone have some 'skin in the game'.
Dan Buckles January 14, 2013 at 07:15 PM
This problem of jobs leaving the state could be fixed but as long as the wealthy(corporations) can lobby our legislators and congressmen nothing will change. Even if we had a Republican legislator and governor it would not change as long as private interests can block any change and nothing more brings that to light than the Dan Moran's artificial in the paper. I have been saying this for a long time but it doesn't seem to sink through to the public that both parties are under the spell of money and can't, or won't, do what is right. I would hope a progressive like Brown would point this out to the public in statements about what is going on because he's in a safe position right now and could use the bully pulpit, but for a Republican to strike out from the party of corporate welfare I have little hope. As one can see this party is totally corrupted, while the other still has some diversity and holdouts for what is right for the public good. Again, it doesn't matter who you vote for your interests will be subverted for private interests in this country and outside it as well. Wake up!!!!! The last time we were in this position the workers united and found a politician(FDR) who understood that capitalism was going to fail if it wasn't saved from itself. We all want the best for our state and country and we need to work together against the corporate interests who are corrupting capitalism and most importantly, democracy.
Dan Buckles January 14, 2013 at 07:26 PM
Try supporting your parents without SSI and Medicare and take care of your family. People who just think about themselves usually end up on the short end of the stick when the game isn't fare. Play a game of monopoly when someone starts with owning a lot more than you, has more money, and gets a free get out of jail card every time. We have these programs for a reason, and the history seems to get lost when the capitalists are looking for more profits, or what you might call rent seeking activities, in times of lowered income for the profit seekers. The financial sector runs the casinos and we are all fare game. Can you buy a get out of jail free? I thought not, but they can.
c5 January 14, 2013 at 08:03 PM
dan, you think 'rich people' produce nothing? wow, time to take the aluminum foil helmet off for a couple of minutes to let your brain reboot....where do you think all those assets come from (in the vast majority of cases)?
c5 January 14, 2013 at 08:07 PM
by the way, does anyone really think the budget is really balanced? the gov used more aggressive growth rates for one, and for another don't forget about the big bump in taxes in december that took place in front of the fiscal cliff and the massive tax increases that are taking effect in 2013...lots of taking gains in 2012 while the lower rates were in effect--which is just timing difference but will take away from 2013 tax receipts. hard to say how much this was, but the activity was significant.
Cheryll January 14, 2013 at 08:26 PM
C5: You have not been getting the news I guess, that companies ARE moving into Calif. It's more convenient not to "know" that though. Solar is particularly popular and even Concord got a solar company last year from......Texas!
Cheryll January 14, 2013 at 08:31 PM
We need to follow the "Get Money Out of Politics" group. That is the ONLY way we will ever have an equal footing in our politics, so our government. Lobbyists are important because without them there are not enough hours in the day for legislators and their assistants to know all the details of every subject that affects people. And maybe we should pull FDR's Amendments for workers out of the trash pile too!
CJ January 14, 2013 at 11:11 PM
In 6 months they wll announce how the revenues are not what was predicted. Guaranteed. We do not have a surplus. Businesses are leaving we have been averaging a net loss of viable functioning businesses of around 200 per year for several years. It will likely double this year. The WSJ had a pretty decent article about it recently. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203699404577044202462209194.html BTW- Since Prop 30 passed if you want any more funds for schools here in Lamorinda...go ask JB for the money. I have stopped donating officially as of Nov. 6.
c5 January 15, 2013 at 04:50 PM
solar companies are here because of the tech business in silicon valley and because of the ongoing solar initiatives here. i think i do 'know' that....look at migration of employment generally and you might learn something about what is going on outside of tech and clean tech...and by the way, the cleantech business which i have been personally involved with from an investment standpoint, is highly dependent on government subsidies. if you want to use the solar company that moved to concord as your shining guide fine...others will use solyndra as their example.
c5 January 15, 2013 at 04:51 PM
cj, tell that to cheryll...she thinks one solar company moving to concord is indicative of the direction changing. i do not.
Dan Buckles January 15, 2013 at 07:24 PM
So why are oil companies getting subsidies. The Chinese are subsidizing their solar industry and American companies are using the cheap Asian labor to subsidize their industry......I could go on but when you don't think in terms of keeping manufacturing strong in America, you are undermining the real economy and the nations economic ability to sustain itself. We are borrowing money from China to subsidize our US military and complex so that we can have a war with them. How stupid is that...................Please proceed Mr. Neocon
Chris Nicholson January 15, 2013 at 07:49 PM
Two wrongs don't make a right. The oft-flogged "oil company subsidies" are a byproduct of political wrangling rooted on the notion that energy production is good because it drives the economy (good notion, bad wrangling). I would end them. In fairness, however, the subsidies on a per BTU/Watt basis are so tiny to be laughable when compared with subsidies (both explicit and implicit) for so-called clean energy (wind being the biggest blow hard, plus solar, etc). I would end those as well. I would also reduce military spending, particularly as it relates to our "The World's Cop" roles abroad. Let our allies hire their own security and guard their own borders.
Dan Buckles January 15, 2013 at 08:39 PM
When organizations, like ALEC and the US Chamber of communists, gets a front row seat in our legislator and can write the legislation, the public's interests gets a back row seat, California loses. So lets say Texas wants our jobs so they dole out some money to our legislators to stop any reform, as is the case in Morain's column, and the public blames Democrats for not doing anything because they were influence by business not to. So were does this little charade end? When the media steps up to plate and expose it on the front pages and TV shows. And you got to give credit to Brown for trying to kill them but the legislator killed it. They win and California loses. When we stop playing politics with people lives is when we change our economy and that will happen when the people join together in mass, as Vietnam, to stop this overthrow of our economy for private interests of a few on Wall Street and multinational corporations.
Cindy January 15, 2013 at 08:46 PM
We first have to throw away I am a Democratic Jacket & I am a Republican Jacket and hang up the "I" am an informed Independent voter and then change will start to happen.
Patrick J. McNamara January 23, 2013 at 07:32 PM
I love how often the meaningless and deceptive stats get thrown out. Prime example is the state rankings. "We are 47th in school funding!" or "We are 50th in the nation on many fronts!" (which doesn't even bother specifying a category of low ranking). If every other state spent $5 million per pupil per year, and California spent $4.9 million per pupil per year, guess what??? We are dead last at #50!!! Oh the horrors! That is the scam. Every state takes turn being last, as the gullible electorate ponies up the dough in an inexorable climb out of being ranked 50th. We are all so stupid!
Cheryll January 28, 2013 at 02:08 PM
**To Patricics jan 23 comment: California’s per-student spending of $8,482 was $3,342 – 28 percent – below the national average of $11,824. Only Nevada ($8,419) and Utah ($7,042) spent less. Another Western state, Wyoming – $18,814 per student – led the nation in spending. The gap between California and the nation grew $344 per student in 2010, as California’s per-student spending dropped $185 from the year before as a result of a massive state budget deficit, while spending nationally grew $159. To Lafeyette: You can see the huge disparity in the amounts paid per student between children in California. They deserve to be on the same playing field as any other children we pay taxes for.

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