Other goals outlined in the budget include a $570 million increase for community colleges, a 3 percent increase for colleges in the University of California and California State University systems, continuing to provide funding to increase health care coverage to low-income Californians under the Affordable Care Act, paying down debts and liabilities and continuing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.
Assemblyman Vince Fong, a Republican from Kern County and a former staffer of House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, said the forecast windfall was evidence that a gasoline tax increase passed by Democrats previous year was unnecessary.
The 2015 and 2016 budgets allocated $960 million to the most critical deferred maintenance projects such as levees and high-priority state facilities including office buildings and the Capitol Annex, according to the budget document.
The proposed budget - the starting point for five months of negotiations with the state Legislature - comes as the state is on track to end the 2018-19 fiscal year with one of the largest surpluses in the last decade.
Eloy Oakley, chancellor of California's community colleges, applauded the online college proposal. The $131.7 billion proposal includes a number of goals, including filling the state's rainy day fund to its constitutional target, implementing California's K-12 Local Control Funding Formula two years ahead of schedule and providing $4.6 billion for the first year of a 10-year transportation improvement plan.
Community rehabilitation programs would get $64.4 million, up almost $19 million from the current year.
"There is a lot more flexibility than is now assumed by those who discuss the California rule", Brown said.
Brown proposed giving the community college system $120 million to begin creating an online community college that would first enroll students in late 2019. The proposal shows how far we have come as a state in the past seven years in increasing investments in education so our students can continue to succeed in college and the 21st Century economy. Local governments and school districts, meanwhile, have been drawing attention to their rising expenses on pensions, complaining that the costs are "crowding out" their ability to fund public services.
Senate Democrats argued the state still isn't investing enough in public schools. Buoyed by their victory on federal tax reform, House Speaker Paul Ryan says he'll next try to cut federal spending on welfare and Medicare, moves that could affect California's budget. It was later renewed temporarily but expires again in March. Assembly Democrats had proposed that change, which they project would eventually cost $1 billion a year. "The governor's budget already sets a new record high of $132 billion in spending". "The federal tax measure did not just stick it to California's individual taxpayers - it will also likely have a devastating impact on our state budget". Californian's who claimed the deduction took an average of $18,000 in 2015.
State senate leader Kevin de León introduced legislation last week that would allow California taxpayers to donate to a fund and deduct 100% of the donation, essentially turning state tax payments into a deductible charitable contribution.
Such a change would likely need to be reflected in the state budget, even though it's meant to be revenue neutral.
But when Brown was asked if he would tackle changes to Proposition 13 by commenting on a spit roll property tax proposal or other measures that deal with Prop 13, he said, "The fact is there is more property tax collected than ever". His May budget revisions could include a response to federal changes.