Governor signs budget
Budget reflects improving economy
In a ceremony that took place at the Capitol earlier today, the Governor signed a balanced state budget that reflects major improvements in the state's finances following years of multi-billion dollar deficits.
With the passage of Proposition 30, the state is reinvesting in, rather than cutting, education funding. State spending on schools will grow about $1 billion over two years to $55.3 billion for the 2013-14 fiscal year. At the same time, education deferrals will be reduced to $4.9 billion, which represents half of what the deferrals were at the peak level. The budget proposal also includes the Local Control Funding Formula which changes the basis for how education funds will be allocated to schools.
Due to concerns that the Local Control Funding Formula would not provide enough funding to help school districts mitigate prior year cuts, CSEA worked hard to ensure that the budget included enough funding to help restore prior year cuts and allow districts to restore programs and rebuild budgets over time.
CSEA also advocated to ensure that school transportation funds were not made flexible, that common core funding specifically include language providing that paraeducators are eligible for staff development training and that Adult Education programs were fully funded and not transferred to community colleges. CSEA was successful in ensuring that the final budget addressed all of these concerns.
Expanded Medi-Cal coverage
The Governor also signed ABX 1 1 (Perez) and SBX 1 1 (Hernandez-Steinberg), which are identical bills that implement a major component of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). These important bills would expand coverage of the state's Medi-Cal program to adults, up to age 65, earning up to $15,856 (based on 2013 federal poverty level). This expansion could provide health care coverage to over a million more people who are currently ineligible. With the passage of these bills, having a qualifying child will no longer be required for coverage in Medi-Cal.
The Governor did use his line item veto authority to trim the final budget. While most of the components of the education budget remained intact, the Governor made the following reductions specifically related to special education and child care programs.
The budget eliminates $30 million which was proposed to begin the process of equalizing state special education funding among Special Education Local Program Areas (SELPAs). In his veto message, the Governor indicated that at full implementation this proposal would cost over $300 million and would reduce available resources to pay off deferrals and to implement the Local Control Funding Formula.
State Preschool Program Funding
The budget reduces the level of funding increase for State Preschool Programs from $30 million to $25 million, a $5 million decrease.