California Legislature OKs $108 billion state budget


SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The state Legislature on Sunday approved California’s $108 billion budget for the coming fiscal year, moving swiftly to beat a midnight deadline and adopting the highest general fund spending plan in state history.

The legislation, SB852, passed 55-24 in the Assembly and 25-11 in the Senate, mostly along partisan lines.

The unusual Father’s Day legislative session came on the last day the Legislature had to meet its June 15 constitutional deadline to send a balanced budget to Gov. Jerry Brown. The governor and Democratic legislative leaders had agreed to the key details for the budget late last week.

The final plan for the fiscal year starting July 1 meets Brown’s demands for a rainy day fund and paying down debt while allocating some of the surplus to programs benefiting lower-income Californians.

Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, highlighted some of the additional spending that was a priority for Democratic lawmakers, including $264 million for preschool and day care for low-income families that eventually will cover half of all 4-year-olds in the state.

She said libraries, art programs, student financial aid and welfare-to-work programs were among the many state-supported services that will see more money in the coming fiscal year.

“The investments in this budget are the most significant in years,” said Skinner, achairwoman of the Assembly Budget Committee, while also noting the money dedicated to start paying down the hundreds of billions of dollars in state debts and liabilities. She said that part of the budget will “put California on strong fiscal footing.”