Politics

California Legislature approves compromise $115.4B billion budget

The Senate approved a revised $115.4 billion budget Friday on a 30-9 vote. The Assembly approved it earlier Friday, 53-26. Gov. Jerry Brown is expected to OK the plan.
The Senate approved a revised $115.4 billion budget Friday on a 30-9 vote. The Assembly approved it earlier Friday, 53-26. Gov. Jerry Brown is expected to OK the plan.
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California lawmakers on Friday passed a compromise budget for the new fiscal year starting next month to meet Gov. Jerry Brown's demands for restrained spending even as the package sends billions more to public schools while expanding health care and social services.

The Senate approved a revised $115.4 billion budget on a bipartisan 30-9 vote. The Assembly approved it earlier Friday, 53-26.

Democrats who control both houses had sought more spending on social welfare programs and approved a plan with $2 billion in higher spending on Monday. But Brown, a Democrat, held firm against expanding many services, relying on a lower projection for state revenues.

"Given that the nature of compromise is that no one gets everything that he or she wants, that's what's before us," Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, said in presenting the revised budget as vice chairman of the Senate Budget Committee.

Brown allowed Democratic legislative leaders to keep some of their priority programs such as boosting the number of state-subsidized child care slots, giving in-home support workers a raise and expanding state-subsidized health care coverage to children from low-income families who are in the country illegally.

The Democratic governor said the state will pay for those initiatives but still limit state spending next year by finding savings in other programs, including fixing an accounting error in health spending.

Brown called two special sessions to address how California pays for roads, highways and other infrastructure and Medi-Cal, the state's health care program for the poor.

Republicans said they supported the lower overall budget figure and some voted for the compromise plan.

"I think we've made a step here toward a responsible budget. Some of us will have problems with some of the other provisions but this is a good effort," said Sen. Jim Nielsen, R-Gerber, vice chair of the Senate Budget Committee.

But some Democrats said the revised budget shortchanges the poor and disabled. The spending plan doesn't eliminate a cap on welfare payments for low-income women who have more children and the deal left out extra support the Legislature had approved for transportation, job coaching and housing for people with autism, Down syndrome and cerebral palsy.

"It appears to me that poor people in California and their children continue to be on the losing end of that equation," said Sen. Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles.

The budget now heads to the governor, who is expected to approve it.

This story has been updated.