Every California governor for the last 44 years has used the state’s line-item-veto to kick-out the most egregious fantasy spending by the legislature, but Governor Jerry Brown signed this year’s record $125 billion budget without a single spending veto.
The record high 2016-17 California General Fund Budget that begins on July 1 spends $122.6 billion. That amounts to 5.5 percent more than last year, and 42 percent higher than 5 years ago. Spending by the California “special funds” of $45 billion and bond fund repayments of $3 billion brings California’s total state budget to about $171 billion.
Brown, in a negotiated deal that guaranteed Democratic leaders he would not veto any of their spending, received $2 billion more for the his reserve fund than the constitutionally mandated $1.3 billion.
Federal funding of $92 billion will lift state expenditures for the 2016-17 year to $262.6 billion. As the Fox and Hounds Daily blog notes, the 28-nation European Union’s total budget is only $170 billion, to put that spending in perspective.
The 2016-17 California budget allocates the full $71.9 billion in minimum funding guaranteed to K-12 schools and community colleges. That works out to a record K-12 per student spend of $10,643, which is up a stunning 47 percent, or $3,600, in the last 5 years.
Affordable housing and homelessness programs receive $3.6 billion in state and federal aid, including an extra $400 million that State Assembly Democrats demanded for housing. But the cash is subject to the legislature negotiating a deal that complies with Brown’s demand to streamline approval and construction of state development projects.
Brown is demanding that the streamline review process only take into account local cities’ zoning requirements, rather than comply with the onerous state environmental mandates that are supported by unions and the “sustainability” lobby.
Many analysts believe that the Democrats’ repeal of the decades-old limitation on the maximum number of children in any family that receive welfare benefits is sure to be a budget buster to due to fraud and abuse.
Repealing the “maximum family grant,” which does not allow for increased welfare payments if a child is born after a family has already been receiving welfare, is estimated by the proponents to cost only $110 million in 2016-17. But they do not mention that the cost will escalate rapidly over the next 5 years.
Democrats called the “cap” racist, claiming it generally affects minorities. They also claim that the limitation endangers the health of infants born into poverty and intentionally interferes with the reproductive decisions of impoverished women.
Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount) said in a statement on his website: “This balanced, on-time budget — which also responsibly grows the state’s rainy day fund — is the result of hundreds of hours of public hearings”.
He added, “That shows the budget process is working and our final product means California is in stronger fiscal shape than we have been for years.”