Gov. Jerry Brown to increase funds for public schools, universities, but the love ends there

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When Gov.  Jerry Brown releases his state budget plan Thursday, look for a $2-billion increase in spending for K-12 schools as part of the passage of Prop 30.   Brown will also propose changes to funding formulas that could benefit many campuses in LA Unified and other large, urban districts.

The University of California and California State University were promise a $125-million dollar bump each if Prop 30 passed.  

But that’s where the love ends. 

Brown has to close an estimated $1.9 billion deficit in 2013-2o14 and has promised to resist any efforts to restore cuts made to other government services in recent years.

“Most people want to spend more money than the state has,” Brown said at a news conference Monday.  “I will tell you 2013 is the year of fiscal discipline and living within our means.”  

Brown said the state must live within its means. 

“People want to have more childcare, they want to have more people locked up, more rehab, more, more, more, more judges, more courtrooms," said Brown. "We have to live within reasonable limits.”

State courts are bracing for an expected $200 million from the judicial budget coming on the heels of $1.2 billion in budget cuts in the past five years.  As a result of budget cuts, 10  courthouses in Los Angeles County are in the process of shutting down.

Consumer Attorneys of California President Brian Kabateck warns further cuts would plunge the state’s judicial system into crisis.

“Our civil justice system has been left teetering,” Kabateck said in a statement Wednesday. “Even the most basic functions like paying a ticket or resolving a rental dispute have been turned into unbelievable inconveniences that cost average citizens both time and money.”

Health care advocates will be looking to see whether Brown’s budget includes spending increases to expand MediCal—California’s version of the federally funded Medicaid that provide healthcare to low-income residents.  

The Obama Administration has offered to foot most of the bill for 3 years for states that  expand the program as part of federal healthcare reform, but California would still have to pay 10 percent of the costs.

Mike Herald at the Western Center on Law and Poverty said no one knows for sure what the Administration will do.

Brown’s top priority is to dig California out of fiscal crisis. 

“You can take this to the bank: we’re not going to spend money that we can’t afford to spend," Brown said Monday. "And we all are going to have to sacrifice according to our means.”

Keeping spending flat or close to it will help Brown achieve his promise to end budget deficits and pay down what he calls California’s “wall of debt.” 

The Legislative Analyst thinks Brown can do it with the new income and sales tax revenue from Prop 30, but only if lawmakers stick to the strict budgets of recent years and California’s economy continues to improve.

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