New CA Budget Ignores Spending Calls by Dems

     SACRAMENTO, Calif. (CN) – Gov. Jerry Brown signed a $167.6 billion budget Wednesday, ignoring state lawmakers’ calls for spending increases a week before the start of the 2016 fiscal year.
     The spending plan includes a $115.4 billion general fund, the same amount Brown proposed in his revised budget bill last month. The 2016 budget includes additional funding for undocumented immigrant health care, the state’s first earned-income tax-credit program for impoverished families and public education.
     “The budget the governor signed today makes important investments and pays down debt while adding to state reserves,” Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, said in a statement. “It is not only a reflection of our state’s economic health, but a plan that will continue to help build California’s fiscal fitness.”
     Last week the state Legislature sent Brown a budget bill that took advantage of the state’s burgeoning tax revenues, adding nearly $750 million in general fund spending for social programs.
     Brown largely struck down requests by fellow Democrats for increased spending.
     The governor announced the signing of the budget via Twitter, posting a picture of himself with Atkins and Senate President Pro Tem Kevin De Leon.
     The trio is expected to begin special sessions regarding the state’s crumbling freeway infrastructure and exhausted health care system next week.
     “While the budget signed today is clearly the best one we’ve had in years, there is more work to do on Medi-Cal, DDS and infrastructure,” Atkins said in a release. “Today, I will be appointing the members of the Assembly committees for the special sessions that have been called on health care and infrastructure.”
     With the budget signed, several issues remain for Brown and state Democrats regarding cap-and-trade revenue and the billions in additional tax revenue projected to fill the state’s coffers. Brown has also been in a public showdown with the University of California system over additional spending for the state’s higher education arm and has offered incentives if they are able to enroll an additional 5,000 students.

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