Califonia’s Budget May Shock You

1/11/13 2:51PM EST

California Califonias Budget May Shock You

Believe it or not, California Governor Jerry Brown proposed a budget plan for 2013-2014 yesterday that leaves the state with an $851 million surplus. After years of financial issues, the budget will raise California’s spending in key areas of education and healthcare, boosting total expenditures by 5 percent, while still leaving the surplus. Still, Brown is not ready to lose control of the purse strings, and promises to push back at legislators who want to further increase spending in social services and other state programs by billions of dollars.

I am determined to avoid the fiscal mess that the last few governors had to deal with,” Brown told reporters.

California lawmakers have struggled with budget deficits for years after the state’s economy melted with the housing bust. The projected budget surplus has come as a welcome surprise to many. Brown’s plan projects $98.5 billion in revenue with $97.7 billion in spending, according to the California Department of Finance Web site. Brown also forecasts a balanced budget for the next four years.

The budget spells good news for schools and universities, which are set to receive a $4 billion boost in spending, while health care will receive an additional $1.2 billion. Still, in order to avoid another deficit, transfers to local governments will decrease $2.1 billion.

Meanwhile, California’s economy is on the rebound as well. Job creation in the state is above the national average, and unemployment has finally fallen below double-digit levels—the first time in almost four years. According to the Department of Finance, the state’s unemployment rate will fall to 9.6 percent in 2013 and 8.7 percent in 2014.

[Image via Andrey Bayda/Shutterstock]

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