Monday, January 16, 2017

What's in Brown's new budget? A $65 vehicle fee, more Medi-Cal spending, a bigger rainy-day fund and more - latimes

Gov. Jerry Brown’s newly unveiled state budget calls for spending $179.5 billion in the coming fiscal year, while offering ways to avoid what he believes would otherwise be California’s first deficit in more than three years.

Here’s an overview of some of the most important proposals outlined by Brown in the budget he presented to the Legislature on Tuesday. 

Legislative Democrats are balking at the governor’s budget plan to cancel the 2013 law that earmarked money for UC and CSU students from families with incomes of up to $156,000 a year. Brown’s budget would only keep giving money to the 37,000 students who received awards for the current academic year. The savings, which won’t be realized until those students graduate, is pegged at $115 million a year.

Brown’s plan continues to assume more people enroll in Medi-Cal, the healthcare program that provides coverage for those with low incomes. Medi-Cal has been expanded in recent years with money provided by the federal Affordable Care Act, though the program’s fate is uncertain with new Republican leadership in Washington.

Medi-Cal spending would total $102.6 billion in the coming year, most of that coming from the federal government. That’s $1.8 billion more in state general fund dollars than this year.

Advocates for the poor were disappointed that Brown’s budget didn’t do more to boost the $2.9 billion in monthly cash grants for some of California’s most needy, though that’s a slight increase from the current year and includes a modest cost-of-living increase. The budget estimates 1.3 million people receive supplemental security payments.

The proposed spending plan assumes more taxpayer money to help pay the retirement promises made to state government workers. That includes $5.3 billion in payments to the California Public Employees’ Retirement System — mandated after the agency lowered its investment profit assumptions — and $2.8 billion in payments to the California State Teachers’ Retirement Fund.

California’s new $10.50-per-hour minimum wage means higher costs for state government, from low-level employees to child-care providers and beyond. The governor’s budget pegs the cost of the wage hike to the state’s general fund at $217 million. That includes money needed when the wage rises to $11 per hour in 2018. - Read More

What's in Brown's new budget? A $65 vehicle fee, more Medi-Cal spending, a bigger rainy-day fund and more


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