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California to spend big on education, healthcare in $144 billion budget

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California Governor Gavin Newsom capped a busy first week in office on Thursday by proposing $144.2 billion in general fund spending for the most populous U.S. state, highlighted by increased expenditures in healthcare and education.

Newsom’s fiscal blueprint assumes continued economic growth of at least 3 percent a year but cautions a recession could transform an existing budget surplus of more than $21 billion left by his predecessor and fellow Democrat, Jerry Brown, into a $40 billion deficit over three years.

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“We’re assuming we’re going to continue the economic expansion,” Newsom said during his budget presentation in Sacramento. “I know that send shivers up some people’s spines because we are 10 years into this recovery.”

Increased revenues have allowed California to maintain budget surpluses after the state posted huge deficits following the Great Recession beginning in 2008 forced sharp cuts in education and health care.

With additional bond fund revenue and “special fund” allocations of $64.8 billion, total state spending proposed by Newsom for the upcoming fiscal year that begins in July would come to $209 billion.

The blueprint includes $13.6 billion Newsom has proposed setting aside for what he called “budget resiliency,” with those monies earmarked to pay down unfunded retirement liabilities, to build on California’s rainy-day cash reserve and to retire some of the state’s debt.

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Newsom said such measures were intended to ensure that the state remains on sound fiscal footing to “make the California dream available to all.

The general fund would include a record $80.7 billion in spending for public school education from kindergarten through 12th grade, which Newsom said would rank as the largest such expenditure in state history. That tally amounts to an increase of $5,000 per student compared with spending levels seven years ago, the budget said.

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Budget highlights include $750 million to expand full-day kindergarten, $402 million for community colleges, including a second year of tuition-free education to full-time students, and $125 million to help phase in universal preschool for all income-eligible 4-year-old children over the next three years.

The budget also calls for an overall increase in health and human services spending of 8 percent over the current fiscal year, and $1 billion to double the state’s earned income tax credit for low-income families.

Subsidized premiums would be increased under Covered California, the state’s version of Obamacare, while expanding Medi-Cal, the state’s medical plan for the poor. The proposed Medi-Cal expansion would extend coverage to roughly 138,000 young adult immigrants, from age 19 through 25, who are in the country illegally.

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Reporting by Sharon Bernstein in Sacramento, California; writing by Steve Gorman; Editing by Bill Tarrant and Lisa Shumaker

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news outlets, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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Hundreds of Mexican women protest police rape of teenager

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Hundreds of women demanding protection from Mexico City's police force took to the streets Friday after a number of high-profile sexual assault cases involving serving officers.

To shouts of "I do believe you!" and "My friends protect me, you don't," the initially peaceful rally ended with some participants lighting a fire on the second floor of a police building and vandalizing a bus station.

The protesters also sprayed graffiti on the capital's Independence Monument, adorning the base of the stone edifice with the slogan "damned pigs!"

Two reports of attacks on women this month have sparked outrage and bitter recriminations against the city's police force, with protesters mobilizing on social media through the hashtag #NoMeCuidanMeViolan, or "They don't protect me, they rape me."

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Here’s why Trump’s rabid base will never see the light: They’ve turned to the ‘dark side’

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In a scorching piece for the Washington Post, columnist Colbert King made the case that there is no sense in wasting time trying to convince rabid supporters of Donald Trump that he is a racist or a white supremacist because that is part of his appeal to them.

Under a heading, "Don’t waste your breath trying to convince Trump supporters he’s repugnant," the longtime political observer cites the Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes song, " If You Don't Know Me By Now," as "instructive" as to why his base is unreachable.

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‘Very good’ White House discussions on Afghan peace deal: Trump

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The White House signaled progress Friday in preparations for a peace deal with the Taliban in Afghanistan, saying that discussions between President Donald Trump and top advisors went "very well."

Trump met at his Bedminster, New Jersey golf course with national security advisors including Defense Secretary Mark Esper, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford, the White House said.

Also present were national security point man John Bolton and the US special envoy for the talks with the Taliban, Zalmay Khalilzad.

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