Governor signs robust state budget with emphasis on education, health care


The budget represents a change from previous years of declining revenue during the recent recession, which forced cuts to education and social services across the state.

The spending plan funnels billions of additional dollars into K-12 schools, begins to restore social service programs cut during the recession, and expands Medicaid to an additional 1.4 million low-income Californians as an optional part of the federal healthcare overhaul.

The budget includes $96.3 billion in the state general fund. A reserve account of $1.1 billion is also included.

Declining tax revenue during the recession had cut the general fund to as low as $87 billion just two years ago, requiring lawmakers to make deep spending cuts.

The budget for the coming fiscal year adopts a new funding formula for public schools that will send more money to districts with disadvantaged students. It also expands Medicaid so the health care program for low-income residents will grow over the next few years to cover 9.8 million Californians, roughly a quarter of the state's population.

The centerpiece of this year's budget is Brown's priority to reshape California's funding formula for K-12 schools as a way to help close the achievement gap for poor and minority students.

The budget allocates $2.1 billion to begin moving the state to a new formula that gives proportionately more money to school districts with high levels of low-income students, those with limited English proficiency and foster children. School districts also will get more control over how to spend state aid.

Overall, the budget boosts K-12 and community college funding to $55.3 billion while giving the University of California and California State University systems an additional $125 million each. It also restores $63 million to a state court system that had significant budget cuts during the recession.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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