The Sacramento Bee and other news outlets are reporting that the Big Five (the Governor and the Democratic and Republican leaders in the legislature) have at long last reached a budget deal. The Bee reports:
The proposal includes spending cuts to programs ranging from schools to welfare-to-work to prisons. It takes money from local governments, including borrowing $2 billion that the state will repay starting in 2013.
But Democrats also ensured that California will pay $9.5 billion to education once the state’s economy rebounds as compensation for 2008-09 school cuts. They also avoided suspending Proposition 98, the state’s constitutional guarantee for education funding.
The compromise package is also filled with changes to state government not normally associated with budget deals. It increases sanctions on welfare recipients in an attempt to encourage more people to work. But Democrats said they avoided wholesale cuts in welfare-to-work, Healthy Families and Cal Grant programs.
Don’t be too excited by the promise that schools will get repaid for earlier cuts, but it is always a good thing if lawmakers avoid suspending Prop. 98. Anyway, once the staff gives us a more specific sense of what the final budget means for us in 2009-10, I’ll post it here.