Capitol Alert: California will spend $232.9 billion in new state budget

dwalters@sacbee.comJuly 30, 2013 

5W28GROUP

Gov. Jerry Brown holds the state budget Thursday at the Capitol, joined by, from left, Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and Sen. Mark Leno.

LEZLIE STERLING — lsterling@sacbee.com

California will spend $232.9 billion during the 2013-14 fiscal year if the recently enacted state budget is precisely followed.

But the total, outlined in a followup report by the Legislature's budget analyst, Mac Taylor, is only an educated guess, and if past patterns hold true the real levels of income and outgo will be billions of dollars different.

One differential is already known. State revenues are running about $2 billion ahead of the budget's assumptions - as Taylor predicted they would be - and that will affect the money the state must spend on public education, the largest single category in the budget, as well as potentially pay for mid-year increases in health and welfare spending that the Legislature's majority Democrats are seeking.

The state's general fund, from which education and other major state expenditures are financed, is tagged at $96.3 billion in the report, with special funds, such as those devoted to transportation, accounting for another $42 billion, bond spending for $7 billion, and federal funds, mostly for education and health and welfare services, for another $87.6 billion.

The totals don't count more than $5 billion in sales taxes that are being diverted to county governments to pay for the "realignment" of some penal activities and health and welfare services.

Taylor's report - in effect an explanation of the budget in layman's language - not only deals with the money but how it will be spent, including a major overhaul in how school funds are being allocated, with more money going to school districts with large numbers of poor and/or English learner students. It also includes the state's plans to expand Medi-Cal to serve more of the state's medically insured residents, using funds from the federal health care overhaul, and a boost in higher education spending.

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