CBP: Budget Proposal Prioritizes Austerity, Lacks Plan for Helping Ensure Broadly Shared Economic Recovery

On January 9, Governor Jerry Brown released his proposed 2015-16 state budget. The Governor proposes
to spend $113.3 billion from the state’s General Fund in 2015-16, an increase of $1.6 billion (1.4 percent)
over the estimated spending level for the current fiscal year (2014-15). Yet, even with increased revenues
and a continuing economic recovery that has yet to reach many Californians, the Governor prioritizes fiscal
austerity over investing in broadly shared prosperity. While the Governor’s proposed budget includes longterm
plans for paying down budgetary debt and saving for a rainy day, it lacks a similar vision for
reinvesting in people and communities and ensuring that all Californians share in the state’s economic
gains.
The Governor’s proposed 2015-16 budget is heavily focused on implementing policy changes approved in
prior years. As required by voter approval of Proposition 2 this past November, his proposal sets aside a
portion of revenues – $2.4 billion – with half deposited in the state’s rainy day fund and half used to pay
down budgetary debt. The Governor’s proposal also reflects the ongoing implementation of federal health
care reform and includes $4 billion for the state’s new K-12 school finance system, which is designed to
direct additional resources to disadvantaged students. A sizable boost in funding for schools and
community colleges is the result of the tax increases of Proposition 30 passed in 2012 and a growing
economy.
While these initiatives move the state forward in important ways, the Governor’s proposed budget fails to
lay out a plan to tackle California’s biggest challenges: high levels of unemployment and poverty, widening
income inequality, and a safety net severely weakened by years of funding cuts. An improving fiscal
outlook provides an opportunity for policymakers to rebuild essential public services and systems – such as
by continuing to reinvest in child care and preschool programs, strengthening employment services,
helping students and families afford a college education, and increasing assistance for low-income seniors
and people with disabilities. Failing to reinvest means that many Californians could be left out of the state’s
economic future and puts that future at risk.
The following sections summarize

Continue reading here: http://www.cbp.org/pdfs/2015/150112_FirstLook_Governors_Budget_Proposal.pdf

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  • LAAAC is managed by St. Barnabas Senior Services; Funded, in part, by Archstone Foundation.
  • St. Barnabas Senior Services

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