Politics

Governor Brown proposes record $115.3 billion budget

California Gov. Jerry Brown jokes with reporters by turning a budget chart upside as he discusses his revised state budget plan during a news conference at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif., Thursday May 14, 2015.  Brown's $115.3 billion spending plan would send billions more to public schools and freeze in-state undergraduate tuition and establish a new state tax credit of the working poor.
California Gov. Jerry Brown jokes with reporters by turning a budget chart upside as he discusses his revised state budget plan during a news conference at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif., Thursday May 14, 2015. Brown's $115.3 billion spending plan would send billions more to public schools and freeze in-state undergraduate tuition and establish a new state tax credit of the working poor.
Rich Pedroncelli/AP

Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday proposed a record $115.3 billion California spending plan that will send more money to public schools, freeze in-state undergraduate tuition and establish a new state tax credit for the working poor.

Updates: 

3:30 p.m.: Education officials react to May revise

Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Ramon C. Cortines expressed gratitude for Gov. Jerry Brown's budget proposal revealed Thursday, which will provide more money public education in California.

"We are grateful to Gov. Jerry Brown for his continued support for California public education," Cortines said in a statement.

Gov. Brown's record $115.3 billion budget includes an additional $2.1 billion for the Local Funding Formula and $2.4 billion in discretionary spending.

"We applaud the governor’s recognition that decisions on how to meet the needs of our students are best made at the local level and not in Sacramento. We support the governor’s plan to give discretion to school districts in investing one-time funding," Cortines said.

Joshua Pechthalt, president of the California Federation of Teachers, called the governor's May budget revision a "good start" and credited the state's increased $6 billion in revenue to Prop 30, the sales and income tax measure approved by voters in 2012.

"However, we have a long way to go before we restore the programs in education and social services we lost to a decade of budget cuts," Pechthalt said in statement. "Whatever basic stability we have achieved is due to Prop 30, and that needs to be recognized by making its revenues permanent and seeking fair, new sources to fund California’s future."

— Miguel Contreras, KPCC

10:38 a.m.: Gov. Brown's budget proposal to increase school funding, help working poor

Democratic governor Jerry Brown revised his budget upward from his $113 billion January proposal to reflect $6.7 billion in new revenues since January after tax returns came in higher than expected.

Though he is maintaining a cautious approach to spending, Brown responded to criticism that he hasn't done enough to help California's poor by proposing a $380 million earned income tax credit that his administration said would help as many as 825,000 families and up to 2 million Californians.

"It's just a straight deliverance of funding to people who are working very hard and are earning very little money so in that sense I think it does a lot of good things," Brown said of the tax credit.

The average tax credit would be $460 a year with a maximum credit of $2,653 for families with three or more children, to complement the federal tax credit program. It would be available to individuals with incomes of less than $6,580, or up to $13,870 for families with three or more dependents.

It is similar to a plan previously announced by Assembly Democrats, who have made anti-poverty measures a top priority this year.

Brown also reached agreement with University of California President Janet Napolitano on an in-state undergraduate tuition freeze for at least two years in exchange for an extra $436 million in state funding for the university system to offset pension costs.

The 10-campus system could still raise tuition for non-residents and students earning professional degrees.

Brown's updated budget maintains his January plan to increase the university's $3 billion basebudget by $120 million, or 4 percent, and does not include any new money to expand in-state enrollment.

The governor's new plan reflects higher-than-expected tax revenues, most of which by law go to public schools and filling California's rainy day account. The new proposal includes $68.4 billion in 2015-16 for the state's school funding guarantee, up from $65.7 billion in January.

Fellow Democrats and advocates intend to continue pressing Brown to agree to expanding child care, health care and social programs. Some are pushing to restore pay that was cut during the recession for providers who treat Medi-Cal patients. Senate Democrats have a proposal to expand health care for immigrants who are in the country illegally.

 — Associated Press

7:54 a.m.: Brown's budget proposal to include tax credit for the poor

will offer an earned income tax credit for about 2 million Californians living in poverty, Capital Public Radio reports.

Under the tax credit, households without dependents would qualify if their income is less than $6,580, according to CPR, which obtained the information from the Brown administration.

Households with at least three dependents would qualify if they earn up to $13,870. The state would give a refund to Californians who have to pay less taxes than they would qualify for in the tax credit.

The Brown administration says the average credit would be $460 a year with a maximum of $2,653, according to the Associated Press.

CPR says the governor proposes the tax credit to take effect with the 2015 tax year.

Assembly Democrats last week proposed a federal tax credit program similar to Brown's plan, according to AP.

"The EITC is one policy that merits discussion, but it will not end widespread poverty," Assembly Republican Leader Kristin Olsen told CPR. 

The proposal was first reported by the Los Angeles Times.

— KPCC staff

Read the full budget proposal below:

This story has been updated.