Jerry Brown to Spend Surplus Funds on Schools

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AP/Paul Sakuma

Gov. Jerry Brown will release his updated budget on Thursday, and in light of the Golden State’s $3 billion-plus surplus, Brown is expected to suggest an increase in spending on public schools and community colleges . He is also expected to ask that more funds be set aside for the state’s savings or “rainy day” fund.

According to the Sacramento Bee, voter-approved law mandates that the state spend the majority of the surplus on public schools and the state’s savings fund. Yet Democrats are pushing for increased spending on higher education, child care, and several other social programs. Brown has reportedly expressed skepticism over the proposed $1 billion in extra spending for these programs and has asked for Democrats to “show him” exactly where that money would go.

Brown’s fiscal restraint with regard to the surplus in his final term has left Republicans pleased, while members of his own party have been far less thrilled.

In January, Brown proposed increasing per pupil spending by 3 percent, from $9,300 this year to $9,600 next year, the Bee notes. Additionally, a $500-plus increase per student (8% increase) was proposed to go towards the community college fund. Those figures will likely increase with Thursday’s budgetary release.

In addition, on Monday, the 4-person California Compensation Commission–the state panel that sets pay–reportedly unanimously approved a 3% raise for Gov. Brown and state legislators in light of the post-recessionary surplus, notes the Bee; the increase will take Brown’s salary up to $183,000 per year.

The surplus is credited to increased revenues from capital gains taxes and large corporate bonuses as equity markets have recovered.

Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter @AdelleNaz


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