Gov. Jerry Brown announced his proposal yesterday for a balanced state budget for the 2013-14 fiscal year that would funnel more money into K-12 schools and higher education and reform California's health care system.
At a news conference in Sacramento, Brown unveiled his plan, which would increase K-12 and community college funding by $2.7 billion, with a revamped school funding formula focused on serving low-income and English-language learners.
"The future depends not on across-the-board funding, but disproportionately funding those schools that have disproportionate challenges," he said this morning.
The community college system would receive $160 million in additional funding.
The University of California and California State University systems would see a $250 million bump in funding -- a 5 percent increase, according to Brown.
"I will do everything I can to keep the university affordable both to the state and to the students," Brown said.
In a media conference call this afternoon, Sue Burr, executive director of the state Board of Education, noted that the governor made education a key priority.
Also under the proposal, Medi-Cal coverage would be expanded to include as many as 1 million more people in part by relaxing eligibility requirements. Brown's budget outlines a $350 million price tag for the expansion.
Health and Human Services Secretary Diana Dooley said there is a lot in Brown's budget she sees as "good news."
"While not restoring anything, we are not cutting anything further," she said.
Dooley said she predicts that the simplified Medi-Cal enrollment options would "result in people feeling compelled to be covered."
At a rally at the State Building in San Francisco this afternoon, advocates called for a reinvestment in services for children, families,
seniors and people with disabilities.
Keisha Nzewi with the California Hunger Action Coalition implored the governor to restore funding for health and nutrition programs to where it was 10 years ago.
"Restoration needs to happen," she said.
In-home care service worker Norma Smith-Wilson said that despite a lack of cuts in the budget proposal, there is not enough funding for services
as is after years of cutbacks.
Hene Kelly with the California Alliance for Retired Americans led the 30 or so demonstrators assembled on the steps at 350 McAllister St. who
were carrying signs and banners and yelling chants including, "We want a safety net for all the people."
Brown said of the budget proposal overall, "I think it's compassionate ... good for the state of California and what we can maintain over time instead of just enjoying a momentary high and then feeling the hangover."
The budget calls for the state to create a $1 billion reserve, after years of deep deficits, according to Brown.
The increased spending in Brown's budget proposal is made possible in part by revenue boosts from tax measures passed by California voters including Proposition 30.
Brown's budget also calls for a $200 million transfer from the court system's immediate and critical needs account to trial courts.
Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye responded to that aspect of the budget in a statement by noting that the transfer would stall court construction and rehabilitation projects.