CSAC Applauds Fiscal Stability and Transportation Proposal
Governor Brown unveiled his budget proposal for the 2016-17 fiscal year on January 7 and it can generally be characterized as a "good news" budget for counties. The proposal balances a variety of competing needs with fiscal responsibility to create budget stability for the state. In turn, this proposal provides greater stability for counties that remain responsible for delivering numerous state programs and services.
“The Governor’s budget proposal recognizes that while revenue is up, there are still economic uncertainties and being prudent with the resources we have now is the key to long-term stability,” said CSAC Executive Director Matt Cate. “In the long run, stable funding remains essential to successfully develop and deliver the important programs and services we provide, including health care, behavioral health, public safety, transportation and more.”
California counties are also pleased that the Governor’s proposal includes a transportation funding and reform package which would generate $3.6 billion annually for state and local transportation infrastructure. “We thank the Governor for his commitment to address our massive transportation needs at both the state and local level,” said CSAC President and Amador County Supervisor Richard Forster. “The Governor’s budget proposal represents a solid baseline for ramping up discussions with Legislative leaders and the transportation special session conferees. This remains a top priority for CSAC as renewed debate is expected over the coming weeks.”
The Governor’s Budget Proposal also includes these highlights consistent with CSAC budget priorities:
--$250 million in General Fund revenue for improved jail capacity
--$170 million for Medi-Cal Administration Costs
--$3.1 billion plan for Cap and Trade auction revenues, including;
- $150 million for CAL Fire to address forest health and tree mortality
- $100 million for Climate Communities program for the state’s top 5 percent of disadvantaged communities for energy, transportation, water, waste reduction and other GHG reducing projects
--$29.3 million in Proposition 47 savings for mental health, substance abuse treatment, reduced truancy, and improved victim services
--One year for Payment In Lieu of Taxes (PILT)
Two of CSAC’s top priorities were included in the budget proposal: new transportation funding to address the significant funding backlog at both the state and local level as well as a revision of the MCO tax. Both of these issues remain a priority for the Governor and he intends to focus on them in the next month.
With revenues continuing to exceed projections, this is a “good news” budget with no cuts to existing county programs. However, the Governor cautions budget surpluses have historically been followed by significant deficits, and recoveries average five years, which has already been exceeded here in California.