News Update

Legislature passes state budget with lots of blanks and question marks

The Legislature overwhelmingly approved a placeholder state budget Monday, two days ahead of a June 15 constitutional deadline. The vote — 57-16 in the Assembly and 28-8 in the Senate — ensures that legislators will get paid while continuing to negotiate with Gov. Gavin Newsom over differences in time for the July 1 start of the next fiscal year.

The $300 billion package includes a record $128 billion for schools and community colleges. Newsom has 12 days to sign or veto the budget bill. He could veto it or send it back, crossing out spending he doesn’t like to make room for changes he wants in a revised version. Talks also could drag out over the summer over budget “trailer” bills that detail compromise language.

Education is only part of their disagreement. Since Newsom and the Legislature agreed on revenue projections, TK-12 and community colleges will receive $110.3 billion next year through Proposition 98. How to spend it needs to be resolved. The Legislature wants to boost ongoing general funding through the Local Control Funding Formula by 16% — a popular move among districts and charter schools complaining of labor shortages and inflation. Newsom favors a 10% increase and spending the difference on one-time funding, including more for community schools, reading coaches for low-income schools and teacher training in math and science.

Newsom wants to give districts $1.8 billion to spend on deferred maintenance on school facilities; the Legislature wants to spend $1 billion more on busing students toward a goal of free transportation to school for all elementary and low-income students.

Newsom spokesman Anthony York said in a statement, “Given the financial storm clouds on the horizon, a final budget must be fiscally responsible. The Governor remains opposed to massive ongoing spending, and wants a budget that pays down more of the state’s long-term debts and puts more money into state’s reserves.”

Newsom and the Legislature also differ on how to spend $21 billion to address climate change and how to return billions of the state’s surplus to relieve families hammered by rents and rising gasoline prices.

Assembly Budget Committee Chair Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, acknowledged it could take weeks to agree on all of the issues.