Governor Brown’s Budget Breakdown (FY2016-17 Edition)

$122 billion is a lot of General Fund dough.

So what’s in the proposal?

Released last week, the $122 billion budget totals about $6.5 billion more than 2015-16’s budget and leaves a surplus totaling more than $3 billion.

Liabilities and Long-Term Planning

In the Governor’s Budget Summary, the first issue addressed is ongoing fiscal stability and responsibility as this would be the fourth consecutive fiscal year with a balance budget. Brown warns of historical trends of budgets with massive shortfalls following previous stretches of balanced budgets. The League of California Cities gave Governor Brown credit for the current state of the budget, especially comparing it to how things looked when he assumed office for his third term in 2011. 

Moreover, the budget summary addresses all of the state’s liabilities and where the Proposition 2 funds are being directed in effort to reign in all this liability, the biggest of which is everyone’s favorite “P” word, until it is unfunded, Pensions!

The $1.5 billion in Prop 2 funding might seem like drops in a $223 billion bucket, but the current plan is on track to deal with all the state’s liabilities over the coming decades.

Recession planning is another point the proposal touches on, saying that the topping up of the Rainy Day Fund should be “the primary fiscal goal of the state.” The Department of Finance has modeled an “average magnitude” recession to occur in 2017-18. Continuing to prioritize the Rainy Day Fund, the proposal seeks $2 billion on top of the annual Prop 2 monies being directed into the fund. The $2 billion boost would bring it up to $8 billion, or 65 % of the fund’s goal.


Education gets some lovin’ in the proposal with the Local Control Funding Formula nearing full implementation and another $2.4 billion bump in total education funding for $71.4 billion total. Higher education institutions are being told to become more efficient with the funding, rather than just admitting more students. The California School Board Association praised the proposal, saying it “continues positive trends for public education, particularly in the area of increased funding for high-need students.” 

Infrastructure and Transportation

Brown pulled no punches in addressing the state’s infrastructure, immediately citing the deferred maintenance price tag to be $77 billion in total. To address that crumbling cookie, the Governor included a $36 billion over ten years plan to improve maintenance, improve public transit, and improve trade routes. The California State Association of Counties praised this as one of two items they specifically wanted to see addressed in the budget (the other being a tax to cover a looming hole in Medi-Cal funding.) 

For more specific line items lifted from the budget, go to the League of Cities’ summary where they have isolated hundreds of topic specific line items for your consideration.