Earlier today, Governor Jerry Brown released the California state budget. After years of being in debt, California’s budget deficit is gone for the first time since the recession. In fact, he even predicts a surplus by the end of the year. Brown’s fiscal optimism is paired with increases to education funding to the tune of $2.7 billion for K-12 and community colleges, while a $97.7 billion general fund will see modest gains. Of course, that also comes with specific policy changes to the education system, including how schools receive funding and a cap on classes for college students.
Concerning the federal expansion of Medicaid, Brown proposed two different routes California could take to embrace what will be known in the state as Medi-Cal. Due to increased enrollment from now through next year, this process will end up costing an estimated $350 million on top of the 2013-2014 budget.
While the numbers seem to check out, how can Governor Brown assure Californians that they won’t be stuck with another deficit this time next year? How are the groups and local governments affected by the budget reacting? And what do Republicans think? What do these changes mean to you?
H.D. Palmer, Deputy Director of External Affairs for Governor Jerry Brown
State Senator Mimi Walters, Republican representing California’s 37th District, including Irvine and central Orange County, Vice Chair of Appropriations, Judiciary and Public Employment Retirement System committees, member of Banking & Finance and Joint Legislative Budget committees
Astrid Campos, representative and organizer for California Partnership, a statewide coalition of community-based groups advocating to reduce and end poverty; California Partnership is also a leading member of Health Care for America Now, a national movement uniting consumers, labor and community organizations for health care reform