Schools, transportation and homelessness prevention programs will see big spending increases under the nearly $200 billion state budget passed by the California Legislature Thursday.
The budget provides more than 13,000 new slots for state-subsidized child care and $500 million in one-time emergency funds for local governments to respond to homelessness. It allocates $5 billion for transportation improvements. It also brings state reserves up to nearly $16 billion.
The plan includes $138.6 billion in general fund spending. Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, D-Lakewood, said the budget bill touches on every part of the state.
“This budget is a plan for building something great. It moves us toward the California of our dreams," Rendon said. "California is not yet utopia, but we are working on it.”
But the plan has critics. Health care advocates say the budget fails to adequately invest in expanding access to care. Republicans blasted Democrats for not returning some money to taxpayers and for not fully addressing pension debts.
“The Legislature claims to have passed a balanced budget today," said Assembly Minority Leader Brian Dahle, a Republican from Lassen County. "Unfortunately, it ignores the state’s $200 billion in unfunded pension debts and liabilities."
But Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, emphasized how far the budget comes in making up for past cuts to social service programs.
“It’s not a perfect budget," she said. "But I will tell you this. I feel pretty good to be going home and to be going to community meetings in the next month or two months or three months, so I can share with them what we have been able to do.”
Gov. Jerry Brown, who was involved in the budget negotiations, has until the end of the month to sign off on next year’s spending plan.