Governor Proposes 2016–2017 Budget

Aaron Read and
Randy Perry

Legislative Advocates

Aaron Read & Associates, LLC

 

On January 7, Governor Jerry Brown unveiled a $170.6 billion state spending plan that reflects billions of dollars in new revenue, proposing that much of it go to K–12 schools, the developmentally disabled, and the blind, elderly and disabled.

The Governor also highlighted the possibility of another economic downturn to refute calls for permanent spending increases. Thus, the budget includes several hundred million dollars in one-time spending and diverts several billion dollars into reserves. This will be a point of contention between the administration and the Legislature, which wants to restore cuts made to social service programs during the recession and believes the money is available to do so, pointing to the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office report released in November that estimates the state will end the current fiscal year with $7.9 billion in reserve, $3.3 billion more than lawmakers expected last year.

Pushing back, the Governor said on several occasions during his press conference, “Everybody thinks when they’re up here, it’s all wonderful. That’s what they thought before the dot-com, and that’s what they thought before the mortgage meltdown.” Pointing to budget revenue charts, Brown added, “And so here we are again.”

This is the beginning of the annual budget dance, and many other spending proposals will be brought forward as a result of the surplus. Those proposals will be debated in the upcoming budget subcommittee hearings.

Some of the main items relating to local public safety:

  • $129.7 million to support the Community Corrections Performance Incentive Grant
  • $20 million in the General Fund to increase positive outcomes between city police and the homeless community, persons with mental health needs and the high-risk youth population
  • Continuation of $6 million in the General Fund for grants to local law enforcement agencies for programs and initiatives intended to strengthen relationships between law enforcement and the communities they serve
  • $26.8 million ($18.1 in the General Fund) for county probation departments to implement Continuum of Care reforms that support the foster youth system
  • Racial and Identity Profiling Act of 2015 (AB 953, Weber): The budget includes $10 million in the General Fund to allocate to local law enforcement agencies for costs incurred through June 2017 related to increased citizen complaint reporting activities. The administration will work with law enforcement entities during the spring to develop an allocation methodology for these funds and the overall program that limits future mandate reimbursement claims related to AB 953.
  • $250 million in the General Fund for competitive grants to counties that have previously received only a partial award or have never received an award from the state for replacing or renovating county jails to improve custodial housing, reentry, rehabilitative programming, mental health services or treatment space (There will be a 10% county match requirement, but the match may be reduced to 5% for small counties.)

Proposition 47

Proposition 47, passed by voters in 2014, along with the administration’s AB 109 measures to reduce prison population, has resulted in the reduction of the average daily inmate population by approximately 8,700. It is estimated that the 2015–2016 average population will be reduced by approximately 4,700 more. Savings resulting from prisoner reduction are transferred into the new Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Fund, which will be used to reduce truancy and support dropout prevention programs in K–12 schools, increase victim services grants, and support mental health and substance use treatment services.

The Department of Finance currently estimates a net savings of $29.3 million for 2015–2016 compared to 2013–2014. Ongoing savings are expected to be approximately $57 million.