Governor Brown signed a balanced, on-time budget Thursday that directs additional resources to California’s neediest students and continues the implementation of federal health care reform, while continuing to pay down debt and build a significant reserve to prepare for future uncertainties.
The budget is projected to provide long-term fiscal balance with operating surpluses.
“California’s finances are in very solid shape for the first time in a decade,” said Governor Brown, “We’re making significant investments in the things Californians care most about – the education of our children and adequate health care.”
The budget builds on significant progress in chipping away at the state’s “Wall of Debt.” This year’s budget commits $2.6 billion to continue to pay down budgetary borrowing of prior years. From its peak of $34.7 billion at the end of 2010-11, the outstanding debt is $26.9 billion at the end of 2012-13; under the budget signed today that will be paid down to $4.7 billion over the next four fiscal years.
When Governor Brown was elected in 2010, the state budget deficit was $26.6 billion. Today, California has a budget surplus and general fund spending stands at $96.3 billion. The budget act signed today also establishes a budget reserve of $1.1 billion.
Significant Details of the 2013-14 State Budget:
Historic School Funding Reform
The budget adds $2.1 billion for first-year implementation of the Local Control Funding Formula – which replaces today’s overly complex, inefficient and inequitable finance system for California’s K-12 schools. Districts will receive a per-pupil base grant, a supplemental grant based upon the number of students who are English learners, students from low-income families and foster youth and a concentration grant for districts with over 55 percent of this targeted population.
Implementing Health Care Reform
Building on California’s early establishment of a health benefit exchange and the early coverage expansion through the “Bridge to Reform” waiver, the budget aligns with the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA) in a prudent way while maintaining a strong public safety net. The budget enacts a state-based approach to the optional expansion of care allowed under federal law. Over time, as the ACA becomes fully operative, funding previously provided to counties for indigent health will be shifted to fund human services programs.
Multi-Year Funding Plan for Higher Education
The budget establishes the first-year investment in a multi-year stable funding plan for the University of California and the California State University systems. Each system will receive a 5 percent increase of $125.1 million – the first stage of a four-year funding schedule that will result in a 20 percent general fund increase for the systems. The systems will also receive $125 million in 2013-14 for not increasing student tuition and fees in 2012-13. The budget also provides a year-over-year increase of $228.6 million in general fund dollars and local property taxes for California Community Colleges.
Investing in Energy Efficiency
The budget invests significantly in improving energy efficiency at California’s K-12 schools and community colleges by directing $381 million in Proposition 39 funds to K-12 schools and $47 million for community colleges.
Additional details on the 2013-14 budget, including line-item vetoes, can be found at www.ebudget.ca.gov.