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in the KNOW

January 8, 2016

Governor Unveils California State Budget Proposal

Photo above of Gov. Brown during his Jan. 7, 2016 press conference (AP photo by Rich Pedroncelli).

Photo above of Gov. Brown during his Jan. 7, 2016 press conference (AP photo by Rich Pedroncelli).

On January 7, Governor Jerry Brown unveiled a $122.6 billion General Fund budget proposal for 2016-2017 saying, “Relative to budgets in the past, this budget is in good shape.”

General overview
During his budget announcement, Governor Brown reminded Californians that state deficits are more likely than surpluses. “If you don’t remember anything else, just remember everything that goes up comes down,” Brown said. Given this, within the proposed budget is an additional $2 billion for the “rainy day fund” to be used for fiscal emergencies.

About $3.6 billion in funds are shifted to improve transportation infrastructure, including funds from the state’s cap-and-trade program. He provides $1 billion for the Medi-Cal program by taxing health plans. The proposal also allocates $250 million to pay a $10 minimum wage to government workers.

The governor’s budget proposes to allocate funds in the following key areas. This information is a snapshot of issues of interest to our members and is not inclusive of all ag and water funding.

Cap and Trade Funds for Agriculture
Cap and Trade Expenditures – $75 million within the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) proposed to be spent in the following manner:
• $20 million for SWEEP – a grant program to incentivize ag operations to invest in   energy‐efficient irrigation technologies that reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and water use
• $35 million for Dairy Digesters – to reduce GHGs from dairy manure
• $20 million for Healthy Soils – an effort focused on ensuring agricultural soils have adequate soil organic matter or soil carbon contents

Antibiotics
• $1.3 million for CDFA to implement the recently approved law to address antibiotics resistance in humans by regulating the use of antibiotics in farm animals

Drought
• $200,000 for CDFA to conduct a drought impact assessment with the University of California
• $719 million one-time drought package, including funds for salinity barriers in the Delta, emergency drinking water projects, water transfers, water supply modeling, local assistance for small communities and significant funds to the state’s emergency fund to fight fires

Next, the California State Legislature will hold hearings on the state budget, taking into consideration the governor’s plan, before developing their proposal. The deadline for the Legislature to finalize and approve the budget is June 15.

To read the governor’s press statement, click HERE.