Democrats at odds over California’s multi-billion dollar budget surplus
California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) is expected to clash with his own party over the state’s huge budget surplus.
California is expected to see a budget surplus of about $4.5 billion thanks to a voter-approved tax increase, rising employment, increasing home prices, a surging stock market, and tens of billions in spending cuts.
Brown has indicated he plans to continue to cautiously restrain spending and pay down the state’s debt, though he also hopes to increase education funding for the underprivileged and expand the state’s Medicaid program.
The governor will release his new budget proposal at a press conference in Sacramento on Tuesday. But lawmakers in his own party, who have a super-majority in both chambers of the California legislature, have already called for the additional revenue to be used to repair programs hampered by budget cuts.
“Now, with the economic recovery finally taking hold, we can finally say: the era of new budget cuts and additional broad-based taxes is over,” Assembly Speaker John Perez (D-Los Angeles) announced last week. “We must now pivot to strengthening our state, avoiding the mistakes of the past, and preventing the devastating impacts that economic downturns can have on our budget and the people of California.”
Perez is seeking additional funding for child care services and college assistance. Meanwhile, other Democrats have urged the governor to restore spending to health care services and programs for the poor.
“There is no shame, in fact there’s pride, in fighting to restore cuts to those who have suffered the most during the budget crisis – the poor, the elderly and the disabled,” Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg said.
[Image via Flickr user Neon Tommy, Creative Commons-licensed]