SACRAMENTO (KCBS)— California Gov. Jerry Brown released his May revision to the state budget on Tuesday. While it contains a record-high level of spending— $1 billion more than the one he proposed in January— for the 2014-2015 fiscal year, it still calls for restraint when it comes to surplus revenue.
Brown is proposing that the majority of the $107.8 billion general fund go towards paying for higher health care costs for the poor, including the state’s Medi-Cal program, which expanded in large part due to Covered California enrollment.
“A lot of people who sign up find out they’re eligible for Medi-Cal as well as Covered California and that’s why it’s going up $1 billion,” said Gov. Brown.
Assembly Minority Leader Connie Conway, R-Tulare, said she’s concerned about the increase in Medi-Cal spending since the state was assured the federal government would cover all Affordable Care Act costs.
“And now it turns out that it’s a $1.2 billion cost to the State of California with no relief from the feds. That’s a problem,” she said.
The revised plan also includes a 30-year plan to pay down teacher pension liability with $450 million going in for the next fiscal year.
“This is what it takes to educate our kids,” Brown said. “People are concerned about young people getting what they need. To get what they need, they need teachers.”
Brown’s budget also accounts for $2.4 billion in projected revenue for the state, which was not included in the January proposal.
In addition, it represents a 24-percent increase over the $87 billion general fund budget approved during the 2011-12 fiscal year, the low point of the recession when California cut billions of dollars from state programs and furloughed state workers.
Lawmakers now have until June 15th to make changes to Brown’s proposal.