Taking to the podium at 1:30 p.m. today, Governor Brown outlined the agreed upon $115.4 billion General Fund
spending plan for the fiscal year that begins on July 1. The Governor also called two special sessions
on targeted fees and taxes related to transportation and health care. This action allows lawmakers additional time to focus on these crucial issues outside of the constitutional budget deadlines.
The budget agreed upon today is based on revenue projections from the Department of Finance, and spends just $61 million more than the Governor’s May Revise. It accounts for $1.9 billion to the state’s Rainy Day Fund, which will bring its balance to $3.5 billion.
“This is a sound, well thought-out budget,” said Governor Brown. “Yet, the work never ends and in the coming months we’ll have to manage our resources with the utmost prudence and find more adequate funding for our roads and health care programs.”
Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) and Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin De León (D-Los Angeles) joined the Governor this afternoon to announce the agreement. All three discussed the importance of prudent spending. Speaker Atkins called the agreement “the best budget we’ve seen in years.” The Senate leader remarked that all sides worked together responsibly.
When asked if the Governor threatened to veto the budget passed yesterday, he responded, “I don’t issue threats. I engage in frank and honest conversations.”
The details of the agreement will be known in the coming days as trailer bills are amended and released. A vote on the remainder of the budget is tentatively scheduled for Friday.
Transportation Special Session
Governor Brown has rarely called a special session during his tenure leading California. By doing so today it places the issues, transportation funding and health care, on an elevated pedestal of priorities to be addressed this year.
California’s local streets and road system is in crisis
and the League has been actively lobbying for more funding to ensure that the system does not completely fall apart. As Speaker Atkins noted, the deterioration of California roads costs drivers in lost time spent in traffic and in additional wear and tear on vehicles.
In the proposed FY 2015-16 budget released in January, the Governor mentioned that transportation must be a priority. Similar to January, the Governor today declined to give specifics about how the special session would deal with transportation. Instead he said that everything will be on the table. “Highways, that’s been bedeviling the state for the last three Governors,” remarked Governor Brown.
When asked if California needed federal action on transportation funding, Brown quickly responded, “Congress should act. The roads are running down.”
President Pro Tempore De León said that the special session will deal with California’s crumbling infrastructure because transportation is the backbone of the state.
The trailer bills will be amended by Thursday when the Senate Budget Committee has scheduled a hearing. A vote on the final budget package has tentatively been scheduled for Friday. The League will release a summary on areas of importance to cities as soon as the information is available.
In addition, the League will be engaged throughout the transportation special session and will keep members updated with developments.