Revised budget increases spending even as Brown urges caution

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Gov. Jerry Brown released a revised budget Thursday that includes $2.5 billion more in anticipated revenue than his original proposal in January.

Clocking in at $183.4 billion, the new proposal includes some new increases in spending: $1.4 billion for the coming year's Local Control Funding Formula for K-12 education, for example. That money will amount to an increase of about $4,000 per student next year compared to the 2011-2012 funding levels, according to the governor's office.

The revised budget also restored $500 million in subsided childcare that had been set to be cut. This change will pay for rate increases for childcare providers. 

But Brown warned that Congressional efforts to repeal Obamacare could have devastating consequences for the state, saying that the state has received little clarity on the federal front since he released his proposed budget in January. 

"The world of Washington is changing by the hour," Brown said. "We’ve got to be wary and prudent, and that’s what I’m trying to do with this budget."

While schools, early education and childcare programs benefitted from the revised budget, many programs didn't receive any new investments.

CalWORKs, the program that aides low income families with children, is on that list, according Chris Hoene, executive director of the nonpartisan California Budget & Policy Center. Also on the list are affordable housing programs and help for low-income seniors, which many advocates say badly need fundings. 

"It's still a very constrained budget," Hoene said.

Still, Republican lawmakers were critical of the plan. In a statement, Senate republican leader Patricia Bates said, "Despite talk of fiscal restraint and budget deficits, the revised budget would still result in a spending increase of $1.7 billion." 

With his budget, Brown joins a group of governors around the country who are making similar budget decisions in light of uncertainty at the federal level, Hoene said. 

"I think you have state leaders around the country who are taking very cautious and measured approaches to making ongoing commitments going into the next fiscal year," he said.

The release of the budget now kicks off negotiations with the legislature. The state has until midnight on June 15 to pass its budget. 

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