California Budget Update: Trailer Bills Finalized

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This week the California State Legislature passed the last of the remaining California budget trailer bills. Although lawmakers passed the main budget bill on June 15th, thus meeting California’s constitutional deadline, important budgetary changes to higher education, as well as health and human services funding were not fully resolved until Wednesday.

With the final details in place, California’s state budget for the next fiscal year beginning July 1st now sits at roughly $92 billion. This figure is larger than Governor Brown’s original proposal as outlined in his May Revise.

Republican leaders in both houses of the Legislature have criticized what they call the “Democrat majority budget”.

Assembly Republican Leader Connie Conway shared the following in a statement:

“12 days after the constitutional deadline, and it’s clear this sham budget wasn’t worth the wait. In this budget, public sector union bosses win, while taxpayers lose. It’s unfortunate that the majority party would rather target education with 99 percent of the Governor’s trigger cuts than consider sensible solutions we put forward earlier this year to protect classroom funding without raising taxes.”

“It’s a disgrace that Democrats are playing politics with the budget to sweeten the appeal for ill-fated taxes at the ballot box. I know California voters will see past the too cute by half tricks in this budget. If Governor Brown is serious about wanting to earn the trust of California taxpayers, then he will do the right thing by vetoing this reckless budget and forcing the Legislature to go back to the drawing board on the honest, transparent and fiscally-responsible budget that Californians deserve.”

Gov. Brown chose to exercise his line-item veto powers to cut over $195 million from what was presented to him by the Legislature. He said in a statement Wednesday:

“This budget reflects tough choices that will help get California back on track. I commend the Legislature for making difficult decisions, especially enacting welfare reform and across-the-board pay cuts. All this lays the foundation for job growth and continuing economic expansion.”

The final budget is based on the assumption that voters will approve the Governor’s $8.5 billion tax initiative at the ballot boxes this November. Should it fail, a round of trigger cuts will initiate.