Jerry Brown unveils $132 billion California budget for 2018-19

Ross Houston
January 13, 2018

Brown's new General Fund budget is a record $131.7 billion, a 4.1% increase over previous year.

But now Brown and his administration want special treatment - the same favor that was bestowed upon Republican-led Florida earlier this week, when Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announced that the Sunshine State would be exempt from a new policy proposal to open oil and gas drilling and exploration on the Outer Continental Shelf. This act provides $55 billion in new funding over the next decade, split evenly between state and local projects.

The new college appears to follow another trend in the higher education: competency-based education.

California's fiscal position has improved by leaps and bounds since 2011, when the state suffered a $27 billion budget gap.

That potentially dark future Brown predicted is one he won't have to preside over; the 79-year-old governor will leave office after this fall's elections.

To be eligible for the new funds, colleges would have to adopt a series of reforms, such as partnerships with K-12 schools, additional guidance and other changes as spelled out in the law.

The governor has long supported the idea of an online community college in California. The college would aim to help 2.5 million students earn credentials through more-flexible and affordable digital learning options.

While living expenses for students far exceed the cost of attending a community college, Eloy Ortiz Oakley, the chancellor of the California Community Colleges, suggested marketing college as free can have a powerful effect on encouraging students to enroll. The online college would provide a new affordable pathway to higher wages through credentials for those who don't now access the California community college system. The University of Wisconsin offers online degree paths through what it calls the UW Flexible Option. Cities and towns will see significantly more money in their coffers - $2.7 billion compared to $1.6 billion past year - to pay for local street and road repairs, thanks to the gas tax. Oakley said these workers are "working hard trying to support their families but who are stranded in this economy - an economy that's unforgiving of workers that have no credentials". From this recent low, funding has grown substantially, and is projected to grow to $78.3 billion in 2018-19 - an increase of $31 billion (66 percent) in seven years. Jerry Brown's proposed budget. With no tuition increases this year, university tuition, adjusted for inflation, will be below 2011-12 levels.

California's state government has opposed offshore drilling for almost 50 years, despite the presence of lucrative fossil fuel deposits, following an oil spill off the coast of Santa Barbara in 1969.

"In the 1960s, we spent over 20 percent of state revenue on infrastructure", Obernolte said. NY residents can also complete online degree programs through the State Univeristy of New York's Open SUNY program, which allows learners to take courses from more than 470 degree programs within the SUNY system.

But UC President Janet Napolitano and UC Board of Regents Chairman George Kieffer were less happy, arguing in a statement that the 3 percent increase for their system was "less than we anticipated under the framework we established with the governor". I applaud the Governor for bringing our budget reserve to 10% of the total state budget.

Mr. Brown's two most immediate predecessors were consumed by state budget woes at the end of their tenures.

"What we can talk about is spending now and cutting later, or filling the reserves and continuing our spending right along", Brown said. About 28,000 California students now use those grants at private colleges across the state. An update to the budget will come out in May, and the state Legislature and the governor must come to agreement on the final spending plan for 2018-19.

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