SEATTLE — California lawmakers passed a $96.3 billion budget bill Friday, beating a constitutional deadline by a day.

"This budget represents the end of one very difficult era and the beginning of a new and better era, one of continued economic growth, hope and restoration," said Senate pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, in a statement Friday.

The legislation passed after a deal was struck last week between Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders on key elements of the spending plan that includes a $1.1 billion reserve.

Lawmakers have a deadline of June 15 every year to pass a budget or risk losing pay, while the governor has until the end of the fiscal year, June 30, to sign the bill.

Revenue has been bolstered by the passage of statewide ballot measure in November that raised sales taxes and income taxes on the wealthy to help pay for education, the largest expenditure in the budget.

Lawmakers opted to use Brown's lower budget revenue projections despite a forecast from the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office that expects revenues to be $3.2 billion higher than the governor's estimates.

The continued fiscal constraint has led to improved credit ratings over the past year.

Standard & Poor's raised California's GO rating 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.

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