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California Lawmakers To Vote On $125 Billion Budget

California Gov. Jerry Brown discusses his 2017-2018 state budget plan he rele...

Credit: Associated Press

Above: California Gov. Jerry Brown discusses his 2017-2018 state budget plan he released at a news conference in Sacramento, California, Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017.

Eds: APNewsNow. Corrects story and summary to say the budget is $125 billion, not $125 million.

California Lawmakers To Vote On $125 Billion Budget


Ben Adler, Capitol bureau chief, Capital Public Radio


California lawmakers are scheduled to vote Thursday on a budget that increases spending on education and social services while imposing new financial restrictions on the University of California following a scathing audit.

The $125 billion general fund spending plan, which was negotiated by Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders, is expected to easily clear the Democratically controlled Legislature.

Brown called the spending plan "balanced and progressive." Legislative Democrats have praised a budget they said would help alleviate poverty and stand up for immigrants in the face of President Donald Trump's tough rhetoric on illegal immigration.

Republicans have blasted unrelated measures tucked into the budget. Those include a plan to change the rules for removing lawmakers from office, which could benefit a Democratic Orange County senator facing a recall, and a proposal to strip most authority from an elected tax board.

Thursday's vote caps weeks of negotiations after Brown, warning of a looming recession and likely federal budget cuts, proposed a budget that reversed spending approved last year and eliminated a middle class scholarship program. Brown also wanted to use $1.2 billion from a voter-approved tobacco tax increase to cover normal growth in the Medi-Cal program.

He relented on those demands, agreeing to use about half of the tobacco tax money to boost payments for doctors and dentists who care for people on Medi-Cal, the state health plan for the needy.

Brown and lawmakers also agreed to increase funding for after-school care, subsidized child care and legal assistance for immigrants facing deportation. They also agreed to restore full dental and eyeglass coverage for people on Medi-Cal.

The budget seeks to impose reforms on the University of California's budgeting and record-keeping following the release of an April audit found administrators hid tens of millions of dollars from the public as tuition rose. UC President Janet Napolitano disputes the findings, but $50 million will be withheld from the university system until she shows she's complying with the audit.

The one-year budget takes effect July 1.

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