SAN FRANCISCO – The California legislature approved a state budget on Sunday, just hours ahead of the state constitution’s midnight deadline.

The budget plan includes $108 billion of general fund spending, according to the office of Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento.

The final package includes $250 million in funding from the state’s cap-and-trade program for the state’s $68 billion high-speed passenger rail project, begins to pay down an estimated shortfall of more than $74 billion in the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, and puts $1.6 billion into Gov. Jerry Brown’s new rainy day fund.

“These increased investments are the most significant in years,” Assembly Budget Chairwoman Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, said in a statement. “We pay down a good portion of the state’s long-term debt, contribute to the reserve and put California on solid fiscal footing.”

Assembly Republican Leader Connie Conway if Tulare said she is pleased to see the budget saving for a rainy day and paying down the state’s billions of dollars in debt, but said it reflected the majority’s “misguided priorities.”

“In all, the Democrats have increased spending by $12 billion,” she said in a statement. “That is new spending that comes with a price tag year after year regardless of the state having the revenue to pay for it, and ignores important lessons the recent recession taught us.”

The Assembly approved the budget in a 55-24 vote on Sunday. It received a 25-11 vote in the Senate.

The plan now goes to the governor for his signature. Last year, Brown used his line-item veto to kill some measures in the budget.

In a prepared statement on Friday, he praised the legislature for working hard to build a “solid and sustainable” budget.

The approved budget, including $156.4 billion from all funds, is slightly larger than the $156.2 billion plan Brown proposed in May. That plan received a positive response from credit rating agencies, which said the proposed budget would keep California on track to continue improving its credit quality.

The state carries A ratings from Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings, and an A1 rating from Moody’s Investors Service. Moody’s Investors Service and Fitch Ratings assign stable outlooks and Standard & Poor’s gives a positive outlook.

The spending plan, which includes a $108 billion general fund — slightly larger than last year — is scheduled to take effect July 1.

The California budget process has become much less dramatic since voters in 2010 approved a constitutional amendment allowing state budget’s to pass on majority votes instead of the previous two-thirds supermajority requirement.

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