SAN FRANCISCO - California Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders announced a deal on key parts of the state general fund spending plan, laying a foundation for an on-time budget.
The Joint Budget Conference Committee passed the budget plan on Monday that hews to the conservative revenue forecasts outlined in Brown’s May Revise budget proposal. It now goes to both houses for votes.
“The Legislature is doing their job and doing it well. It looks like California will get another balanced budget and, very importantly, educational funding that recognizes the different needs of California’s students,” Brown said in a statement Monday.
The plan incorporates the revenue estimates in Brown’s $97.4 general fund spending plan for fiscal 2014, which is 3.6% higher than last years budget due to the passage of statewide ballot that raised sales taxes and income taxes on the wealthy.
“We have turned the corner and we have the voters of California to thank for passing Proposition 30 that stopped the bleeding,” said committee chair Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, during the hearing.
The committee opted for the governor’s lower revenue projections despite estimates from the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office projecting $3.2 billion more revenue.
The budget agreement follows the governor’s budget outline by reducing the “wall of debt,” and establishing a reserve. The deal also included a compromise on Brown’s school funding proposal, which had been a sticking point with lawmakers.
Budget plan details are expected to be released later Tuesday.
Last year, Brown signed the budget bill two days before the end of the fiscal year after making $129 million in line item vetoes. That spending plan relied on the passage of Prop 30.
The Legislature is required by the state constitution to pass a balanced budget by Saturday. The end of the fiscal year is June 30.
If lawmakers meet the deadline, it would be the third year in a row that they have passed a budget before the deadline after five years of misses.
Proposition 25, adopted by voters in 2010 dropped the threshold needed to pass a state budget to a majority in each house from a two-thirds super majority, making it much easier to round up the votes. The terms of the ballot measure also suspend California lawmakers’ pay if they pass a late budget.
Ratings agencies have given mostly positive reviews to Brown’s spending proposal due to an ongoing theme of fiscal restraint.
Standard & Poor’s upgraded California to A from A-minus in January, and Fitch Ratings upped its outlook on the state’s A-minus rating to positive in March. Moody’s Investors Service rates the state’s general obligation bonds A1.