Legislature Approves $122 Billion General Fund Budget

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A detail of the top of the dome of the California Capitol building in Sacramento, California. (Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)

California lawmakers have approved a $122.5 billion general fund state budget. Senate Leader Kevin de Leon says the budget is fiscally responsible and increases the state's reserves, bringing them up to more than $8 billion.

“That being said, at the same time, we pushed and we pushed hard to make sure we make investments in the most vulnerable communities in California," he said.

The spending plan repeals a decades-old welfare rule that limited aid to children. It allocates more than $500 million over several years to increase reimbursement rates for child care providers and adds slots to state-funded pre-school programs. It also sets aside $400 million for affordable housing.

Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon called the budget historic for both its social polices and its level of reserves.

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"While no one ever gets everything they want in a budget, this one goes a long way toward meeting our priorities," Rendon said. "And its imperfections are part of any budget compromise.”

Republicans criticized increased spending in the budget. Assembly Republican Leader Chad Mayes said there is nothing to celebrate in the spending plan.

“While supposedly balanced, the budget passed today sets the state on a clear path to future deficits," he said in a statement. "Gov. Brown has warned that California will soon experience a recession and face large budget deficits. We’ve seen this before and it results in teacher layoffs, cuts in health care funding and the elimination of social programs that serve our most vulnerable communities. We can’t make this mistake again."

Lawmakers are scheduled to vote Thursday on a related budget bill that would allocate $2 billion in bond money to house chronically homeless people with mental illnesses. The measure requires a two-thirds vote of the Legislature.