A First Since 1983, California Governor Signs Budget Without a Single Veto

by | June 28, 2016

By Melody Gutierrez

Gov. Jerry Brown signed a $122 billion state budget on Monday that puts $3.3 billion in the state's rainy-day fund -- $2 billion more than constitutionally required -- to bring the reserve to $6.7 billion.

And notably, the governor did not use his authority to tweak the budget that had passed the state Legislature earlier this month. The last time a governor did not veto a single item in the budget was the 1982-83 budget, when Brown was at the helm the first time.

The 2016-17 state budget sends $71.9 billion to K-12 schools and community colleges, which is the highest amount sent to schools under the state's minimum funding guarantee. Per student spending in K-12 schools increased to $10,643, which is up $3,600 since 2011-12.

The state will spend $3.6 billion in state and federal money toward affordable housing and homelessness programs. That includes $400 million Assembly Democrats sought for affordable housing programs. That money will be set aside until the Legislature and Brown reach a deal on the governor's calls for streamlining development projects.

Brown wants to streamline the review process for housing proposals that meet a city's zoning requirements, but the legislation has been opposed by unions and other groups that say it sidesteps the state's environmental laws.

The state will authorize a $2 billion bond from future Proposition 63 mental health revenues to create affordable housing programs for the mentally ill.

The budget included Democrats' long-sought repeal of a controversial limit on welfare benefits.

The "maximum family grant" does not allow for increased welfare payments if a child is born after a family has already been receiving benefits.

Repealing the law is expected to cost $110 million in 2016-17. Democrats sought the repeal for several years, saying the cap on welfare payments endangers the health of infants born into poverty and intentionally delves into the reproductive decisions of poor women.

"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," Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, D-Paramount (Los Angeles County), said in a statement.

"That shows the budget process is working and our final product means California is in stronger fiscal shape than we have been for years."

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