Gov. Jerry Brown is expected to unveil a state budget today that provides for new spending on schools, healthcare, social services and environmental programs as California reaps the benefits of an economic turnaround.
The governor planned to hold a news conference in downtown L.A starting at 3 p.m. The budget announcement was initially scheduled for Friday, but the 271-page blueprint was leaked, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The governor's $155 billion blueprint would increase general-fund spending by more than 8 percent to $106.8 billion, according to The Times. The bulk of new money would go to schools and community colleges, which are poised to receive $10 billion more through the state's education funding formula. Some of that money was withheld in recent years as officials struggled to balance the budget.
Brown also wants to repay $11 billion in debts incurred during years of state financial crisis, and he would stash $1.6 billion in a reserve fund as a buffer against future economic turmoil.
"Wisdom and prudence should be the order of the day," Brown wrote in an introductory message, according to The Times.
The document also contains policy prescriptions that could draw controversy. Brown wants to make it easier for local governments to issue bonds to pay for public-works projects, and, according to The Times, he has reversed his opposition to releasing some elderly, sick and other low-risk inmates to help meet court-ordered limits on the state prison population.
Lawmakers must pass a spending plan by June 15 so it can be signed into law and enacted by July 1.
Administration officials now expect a $4.2 billion surplus by the end of June as opposed to the $26.6 billion deficit Brown encountered when he took office in 2011. --City News Service