Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Vote Tomorrow on Conference Budget

After weeks of hard work to craft a budget, a fiscal plan is ready to be passed by the Legislature and signed by the governor. With the budget vote set for tomorrow, we have the opportunity to put the budget crisis behind us, dust ourselves off, and chart a new course for California.

Crafted by the Conference Committee, this budget plan is guided by a simple goal: to protect valued public institutions that have been built over the last century within in a diminished capacity as we weather the current economic storm.

In this context, the Conference Budget:
• Bridges the projected deficit for the next two years;
• Provides a healthy reserve;
• Makes deep cuts in every area of the budget;
• Protects California's access to federal funds;
• Protects institutions Californians depend upon - The plan does not eliminate CalGrants, Healthy Families, State Parks, CalWORKs, Poison Control Centers and long term care programs (Adult Day Health Care, Linkages, MSSP) targeted by the governor; and
• Seeks targeted revenue - The plan includes targeted tax increases on oil companies and cigarettes. Also includes some fee increases to support parks and protect Californians against fires, earthquakes, floods, and other natural disasters.

In terms of overall budget solutions, the Conference Budget is very close to the governor’s $24 billion in budget proposals. The Conference Budget includes $23.6 billion in budget solutions and a $4.09 billion reserve. More specific details of the budget solutions are as follows:
• $12.27 billion in spending cuts and program savings;
• $3.7 billion in funding shifts;
• $3.2 billion in other solutions, including the $1 billion partial sale of the State Compensation Insurance Fund;
• $2.1 billion in revenue acceleration and fees;
• $1.9 billion in taxes;
• $194.8 million in revenue collection and enforcement; and
• $139 million in borrowing.

A detailed analysis of how the Conference Budget generally compares with the governor’s budget proposals was prepared by the nonpartisan California Budget Project. It is available online here.