Transcript: CA Gov. Jerry Brown’s press conference remarks on the May revision of the 2013-2014 budget

Partial transcript of Gov. Jerry Brown’s remarks on the May revision of the FY 2013-14 California state budget. The press conference was held on May 14, 2013:

Pretty big crowd this morning. That’s good!

…Today, the May revision is being released. For the first time in more than a decade, we’ve got a balanced budget and it’s solid. We have money to invest in education because of Proposition 30.

During the campaign, the critics said two things: Proposition 30 can’t pass, and if it does, the money won’t go to schools.

Well, they were wrong on both accounts. We’ve got more money because people voted for it, and most of that money is going to our schools that they need very much.

It’s going to schools in a very unique way because we’re recognizing that the difficulties that families have who don’t speak English at home or who are very low-income – $15,000, $20,000, $30,000 for large families is not a lot of money – and they face challenges that more affluent families do not. And that’s why we send money on a formula, without all the bureaucracies of categorical restrictions, to programs based on need.

Finally, in terms of education, we’re providing $1 billion for the adoption of the Common Core Standards. This is a great…move that puts California in the forefront, but it’s not going to happen overnight. It’s going to take a lot of training of the teachers. It’s going to take a lot of work throughout the state, and it’s going to take some money. And that’s why we have that billion as a one-time expenditure but over a number of years.

Finally, besides education, this budget focuses on health reform. We’re adopting the Affordable Care Act for California and we’re expanding our Medi-Cal. We’re doing so generously and boldly. There are some questions, so we want to do it prudently.

And when the state takes over a burden or a service that up to this point is being performed by the counties, we don’t want to pay twice. So where there is funding that is now properly something the state ought to use, we’ll do it. It’s just a matter of equity. But because of the uncertainty, we put in a formula and it’s something we will work out over the next few years as we get experience.

So finally, there are risks. You’ve read about cash. Well, cash is money in the bank today. But we have to be planning for the next 14 months.

And the next 14 months have not happened, and the news about the economy has dropped from 4% growth, it’s now become 2% growth.

The people who put this budget together in January didn’t anticipate the sequester and they didn’t anticipate the payroll tax restoration. Both of those have hit our economy.

And the austerity pressure coming out of Washington and also coming out of the global economy, particularly in Europe, has lowered our economic projections. And that’s what we’ve based budgets on.

So this is a prudent budget. It’s one that responds to our educational and our health challenges. But it’s one that, unlike those of the past, is going to be very prudent because we’re sailing into some rather uncertain times as we’ve always had.


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