Lege Adds $749 Million|to California Budget

SACRAMENTO (CN) – Banking on increased tax revenue and a strengthened economy, the California Legislature added $749 million in spending to the governor’s proposed budget just hours before Monday’s deadline.
     Democrats carried the vote in both houses, 26-13 in the Senate and 52-28 in the Assembly. Without a single Republican vote, the budget heads to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk for final changes 15 days before the start of the fiscal year.
     (One Republican Assemblyman voted for the bill accidentally as he wrote a Facebook post opposing it. He withdrew the vote later. See below.)
     Brown sent his budget proposal to the Legislature in May.
     State Democrats said their revised $117.5 billion budget will stimulate economic growth and prepare for a possible recession.
     “Our budget is on-time, provides protective reserves, pays down debt, and smartly invests in K-12, higher education and childcare to fortify our future,” Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, said in a statement. “We are having excellent and productive discussions with the administration, and hope to have a final deal within a few days.”
     Lawmakers slid in just before a deadline that would have withheld their paychecks had they not passed a budget by June 15. The Legislature and governor have until June 30 to pass a final budget. Brown has the power to veto the entire spending plan, as he did in 2011.
     After Brown released his revised budget on May 14, Democrats asked him to take advantage of the state’s ballooning tax revenue by increasing spending on social programs and higher education.
     Democrats say the state treasury will have nearly $3 billion more than anticipated when the fiscal year begins July 1.
     Brown and Republicans have scoffed at the projections.
     Monday’s budget includes $325 million for child care programs and increased reimbursement rates for providers participating in state programs, and another $100 million for the University of California and California State school systems.
     Republicans said the budget fails to address major infrastructure issues and doesn’t pay down the state’s massive debt.
     “If additional revenue does materialize, it should be put into the rainy day fund or used for one-time expenditures like water infrastructure, rather than diverted into ongoing program costs that will lead to greater hardship in future economic downturns,” Assembly Republican Leader Kristin Olsen said in a statement.
     As the votes were tallied in the Assembly it appeared that a lone Republican voted in favor of the budget, Rep. Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita.
     Wilk later revealed on Twitter that he made a mistake due to the “perils of social media.”
     “My wife is right – I can’t multitask! Accidentally voted for the Budget while Facebooking against [it],” Wilk tweeted.

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