SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California’s Democratic legislative leaders have agreed on a budget they say covers the state’s estimated $54.3 billion deficit while avoiding most of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposed budget cuts to public education and health care services.
The agreement, announced Wednesday by Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins and the chairs of the legislative budget committees, “ensures full funding of K-12 schools,” according to a news release.
Details of the deal were not immediately released. The statement says the agreement also includes more money for homeless services and universities.
“Our economy has been pummeled by COVID-19, but thanks to a decade of pragmatic budgeting, we can avoid draconian cuts to education and critical programs, or broad middle-class tax increases,” Atkins said.
Just six months ago, California lawmakers were debating how to divvy up a nearly $6 billion surplus. But that changed in March, when Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered everyone to stay home to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Suddenly, more than 5 million people filed for unemployment benefits and the state had a projected budget deficit of $54.3 billion.
Last month, Newsom proposed a spending plan that would have cut billions of dollars from public schools, health care services and environmental protections while cutting salaries for state workers 10%.