The Latest: Budget calls for increase in Medi-Cal spending

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The latest on Gov. Jerry Brown's proposed California budget (all times local):

3:35 p.m.

Gov. Jerry Brown's proposed budget calls for an 8 percent increase in spending to provide health care for California's neediest.

Medi-Cal is expected to cost taxpayers an estimated $19 billion in 2016-17 and would provide health care for more than 13 million people, or about one-third of the state's population.

The budget includes $145 million to fully cover an estimated 170,000 children who are living in the country illegally. The provision is scheduled to start in May.

The budget also includes an extra $57 million for counties to continue processing enrollment applications. To help pay for the health care program, Brown has included a $1.1 billion compromise on a new tax on health insurers to replace one that will expire in June.

The governor's budget summary notes that, when compared to other states, California provides higher levels of care while receiving lower federal reimbursement.


3 p.m.

Gov. Jerry Brown says California must keep thousands of inmates in private out-of-state prisons and maintain a dilapidated state lockup to meet its court-ordered prison population cap.

Thursday's budget proposes keeping 4,900 inmates in Arizona and Mississippi at a cost of $116.2 million.

There is also $6 million to repair a rundown prison east of Los Angeles. The state says it needs to keep 2,800 inmates at California Rehabilitation Center in Norco and retain the out-of-state prisons to meet the federal population limit.

The plans are part of a $10.55 billion corrections department budget, up slightly from $10.4 billion.

The budget also provides $29.3 million for community rehabilitation programs. It's far less than advocates had predicted the state would save when voters approved cutting penalties for drug and property crimes.


2:30 p.m.

California residents pursuing bachelor's degrees at the state's public universities won't see tuition increases in the fall under Gov. Jerry Brown's latest budget proposal.

Honoring Brown's wishes, the University of California and the California State University systems have both announced that in-state undergraduate tuition will not increase for the fifth year in a row.

The governor in return is allocating what his administration says are sustainable funding increases for the two systems.

His proposal earmarks $174 million more in general funds for the UC system, a 5.4 percent increase. The Cal State system would get $152 million more, an increase of 4.6 percent.

Brown says he wants university officials to keep pursuing online courses and other strategies for stretching state dollars and getting more students to finish in less time.


2:00 p.m.

Low-income seniors and disabled people in California will receive a cost-of-living increase from the state, the first since 2006.

Gov. Jerry Brown's budget plan includes more than $40 million for a cost-of-living increase to elderly and disabled people who receive a state supplement in addition to federal cash benefits.

The increase would be the first state-provided cost of living increase in a decade.


1:35 p.m.

A California Republican lawmaker says Gov. Jerry Brown's budget does not include enough money for services for the developmentally disabled.

Republican Assemblyman Tom Lackey of Palmdale, California, is pushing for an additional $250 million to $300 million. He says the governor's proposed budget for 2016-2017 includes $130 million in additional funding.

Lackey and other advocates say money for the state's developmental disability programs has decreased nearly $1 billion since the start of the recession.

The Department of Developmental Services expects to serve about 300,000 individuals by the end of the next fiscal year. The governor's proposed budget calls for the department to receive $3.8 billion from the general fund.


12:45 p.m.

California's fledgling effort to rein in and regulate the state's medical marijuana industry is finding a strong supporter in Gov. Jerry Brown.

The budget proposal for 2016-17 the governor released on Thursday puts $24.6 million and 126 state jobs toward the task of crafting the state's first licensing and operating rules for marijuana growers, dispensaries, testing labs and other pot-related businesses.

Brown also wants to add $5.4 million to the current budget so the work can begin immediately. The money comes in the form of an advance from a new fund that will eventually come from licensing fees the state expects to start collecting in 2018.

The funding proposed for next year would be distributed to several state departments with oversight roles, including the departments of Consumer Affairs, Food and Agriculture and Fish and Wildlife.


12:00 p.m.

Gov. Jerry Brown is proposing a one-time sum of $323 million to address drought in the coming fiscal year.

The state is entering a possible fifth year of drought, with reservoirs and groundwater supplies "significantly depleted."

The budget Brown released Thursday proposes protecting water supplies, conserving water and providing emergency assistance to farm workers, fish and wildlife.

It also allocates another $215 million to fight wildfires as a result of drought, including a significant number of trees dying throughout the state.

Officials say they will continue monitoring the weather's effect on the drought and will possibly adjust this financial support in the May revision to the budget.


11:43 a.m.

California's public schools and community colleges are seeing sizable funding increases for the second year in a row as state tax revenues soar during the economic recovery.

Gov. Jerry Brown released his proposed spending plan for 2016-17 on Thursday. It includes $71.6 billion in general fund money for K-12 education and community colleges.

That's $2.4 billion more than the current year and more than $24 billion above what the state spent during the depths of the recession.

The general fund infusion would boost per-pupil spending in public schools to $10,591 in 2016-17. The Democratic governor also wants to direct money from other sources to compensate schools for earlier lean years.

Brown's proposal also would keep tuition flat at University of California and California State University schools.


11:20 a.m.

Republicans are responding to Gov. Jerry Brown's proposal for a $122.6 billion general fund spending plan.

Assembly Minority Leader Chad Mayes, of Yucca Valley, says Democrats should listen to the independent legislative analyst and the Democratic governor, who have both warned about overspending during boom times.

Brown has generally sought to restrain spending, sometimes clashing with fellow Democrats in the state Legislature who have called for expanding social welfare programs.

He proposed $122.6 billion in spending from the state's general fund on Thursday that would send billions more to schools, health care and infrastructure.

Republican Assemblyman Scott Wilk of Santa Clarita says Brown's budget is "not fiscally responsible."

He says the spending plan does not do enough to pay down debts or invest in road and water infrastructure.


10:57 a.m.

Gov. Jerry Brown's proposed budget again offers a transportation funding plan that seeks new fees and taxes to help repair the state's crumbling roads.

The budget, released Thursday, would raise $2 billion from a new $65 fee on all vehicles. It also would make changes to gasoline and diesel taxes to generate $1 billion annually.

Experts have estimated that the state needs to invest $6 billion each year to maintain deteriorating transportation infrastructure.

The $65 fee would apply to electric and gas-electric hybrid vehicles, which pay less in taxes because they don't use as much gasoline as other cars.

Over 10 years, Brown's $36 billion transportation proposal would allocate $16 billion to maintain and repair highways and $13.5 billion for local roads. The balance would help trade corridors and transit.


10:30 a.m.

Gov. Jerry Brown's 2016-17 budget proposal includes a new tax on health insurers to replace a tax expiring this year.

The expiration would leave a potential $1.1 billion hole in the budget. Brown says he's been working with insurers and has reached a compromise on the new tax that would be in place for three years.

The Brown administration says the package results in a net decrease in taxes for the private health care industry, protecting funding for the state's health insurance program for the poor.

Republicans have resisted approving such a tax. Brown said Thursday that he hopes Republicans can support it as a good indication of collaboration in the future.

He also tied the tax to increases in services for the developmentally disabled, which Republicans support.


10:00 a.m.

Gov. Jerry Brown is proposing a $122.6 billion budget plan for California's next fiscal year.

The Democratic governor announced his proposal at a news conference Thursday. It includes a $1.1 billion compromise on a new tax on health insurers to replace one that will expire in June.

It also increases per-pupil spending to $10,591. Schools are guaranteed about 40 percent of general fund revenues under voter-approved Proposition 98.

Brown's 2016-17 proposal reflects his efforts to balance fiscal restraint with increasing demands for California to invest in social service and health care programs that were cut during the recession.

Thursday's announcement sets the stage for a months-long debate with lawmakers over spending priorities.

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