SACRAMENTO – Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today signed the 2011-12 California State Budget (SB 87), dropping General Fund spending to the lowest level in decades, returning authority to local government and closing the state’s $26.6 billion deficit.
The budget makes substantial cuts to government programs and reduces state spending by $15 billion. As a result, California’s General Fund spending—as a share of the economy—is now at its lowest level since 1972-73. The budget also takes critical steps to address the state’s long-term fiscal challenges by eliminating more than three-quarters of the structural deficit, putting in-place a $500 million reserve and making a commitment to secure stable funding for core services moving forward.
“This is an honest but painful budget that returns California’s General Fund spending to levels unseen since the 1970s. We’ve cut our deficit by $15 billion dollars and achieved financial balance this year. This is a huge step forward. But California’s long-term stability depends on our willingness to continue to pay down debt and live within our means,” said Governor Brown.
The budget recognizes that, since the May Revision, California’s tax revenues have continued to increase, providing billions of dollars to help close the budget gap and fund education under Proposition 98. Current projections are that $4 billion in revenue will be collected during the next fiscal year. As a safeguard, however, if these revenues are not realized, billions of dollars in additional cuts will be triggered to maintain a balanced budget.
The mix of cuts and revenue allow Governor Brown to maintain two key budgetary priorities, protecting K-12 education and funding the historic realignment initiative. Realignment stops the revolving door in California’s state prison system by making lower-level offenders eligible for incarceration, alternative sanctions and supervision at the local level, which is believed to be far more effective. Realignment is supported by the state’s police chiefs, peace officers, sheriffs and probation officers.
The budget includes $23.8 million in line-item vetoes.
The 2011-2012 California State Budget, in full, is available at: www.ebudget.ca.gov.