Thursday, January 18, 2018

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Jerry Brown’s last budget: 19 billion reasons to smile and two big questions

Gov. Jerry Brown has 19 billion reasons to feel optimistic when he releases his last budget proposal this week.

Eight years after he took office in the free fall of the Great Recession, the state is on pace to build a $19.3 billion surplus by July 1, 2019.

But these are not necessarily flush times, warn the liberal policy advocates who normally would be urging Brown to put the surplus into new government services.

They see two strong headwinds they expect Brown to cite when he reveals a budget that salts away revenue and avoids expensive commitments.

One comes from aftershocks created by the tax overhaul President Donald Trump signed last month.

Because Trump’s plan slashes federal revenue, California leaders expect Congress to next cut funding for social services that they consider critical. That, in turn, could blow a hole in parts of the state’s budget that depend on federal funding, like Medi-Cal.

The second drag on the upcoming budget comes from Brown’s own preoccupation with a recession. He continually warns that lean days are just around the corner even as the state exceeds its revenue targets.

Read more at www.sacbee.com

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