Governor Brown announces proposed state budget for 2018

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The proposed total state budget, which includes income generated from bonds and other special funds as well as tax revenues, would be $190.3 billion, up 4 percent from the current fiscal year.

Those obligations will weigh heavily on the next governor, as will the inevitability of an economic downturn, since the recovery from last decade's Great Recession is already historically long.

Brown proposed giving the community college system $120 million to begin creating an online community college that would first enroll students in late 2019. An online college would give them more flexibility.

However, the UC released a statement on the same day that the increase in funding is still less than what was anticipated under a previous agreement between the University and the governor, and that it does not include funding for UC enrollment growth. The two had requested additional money to add more graduate students. "It's absolutely critical that the state pay down debts and building our rainy day fund, while investing in critical services".

Brown voiced interest in that proposal Wednesday, telling reporters, "I'm certainly open to it". Since then, auction proceeds have stabilized and revenues have increased, resulting in $1.25 billion in cap-and-trade funds available for appropriation in 2018-19.

Brown dismissed concerns that California should be hunkering down for angry clashes with Republicans in Washington, even though the budget assumes robust funding for healthcare still being provided through the Affordable Care Act.

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Brown said he wants Cal State to keep improving its graduation rates, which most recently were 22.6 percent within four years and 59.2 percent in six years.

Brown's budget includes $18.7 billion for transportation programs and improvements, up from the $18.1 billion allocated past year, a modest 3 percent increase. By the end of the 2017-18 fiscal year, the fund will have a total balance of $8.4 billion, equaling 65 percent of the constitutional objective.

Assemblyman Jim Frazier, D-Solano, who is chairman of the Assembly Transportation Committee, is pleased with that particular move. Tom Berryhill (R-Modesto) said in a statement.

Another goal includes providing more funding for education. One said public workers are are "entitled only to a "reasonable" pension, not one providing fixed or definite benefits immune from modification".

Clearly much lobbying and debate are ahead in coming months before state budget and tuition decisions are finalized.

Democratic legislative leaders applauded Brown's proposal.

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"This formula recognizes the fact that a child in a family making $20,000 a year or speaking a language different from English or living in a foster home requires more help", Brown said in his 2013 State of the State speech.

The good times have lawmakers airing plans to spend some of the surplus. "In a flawless world, the surplus would be returned to taxpayers". The state's budget has grown 45 percent since 2011, when he took office facing a $25 billion deficit.

California has faced 10 recessions since World War Two, and the state must prepare for the 11th, Brown said. The proposal shows how far we have come as a state in the past seven years in increasing investments in education so our students can continue to succeed in college and the 21st Century economy. "Let's not blow it now".

That potentially dark future Brown predicted is one he won't have to preside over; the 79-year-old governor will leave office after this fall's elections.

"The next governor is gonna be on the cliff", Brown said during his final remarks. What's out there is darkness - uncertainty, decline - and recession.

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