Thursday, June 16, 2016

Yesterday, the Legislature approved a 2016-17 California State Budget of $122.5 billion.  While the Budget Conference Committee concluded its negotiations and approved a state spending plan on June 9, the full Legislature approved the final budget on the afternoon of June 15.  We are grateful that the 2016-17 budget agreement recognizes the indispensable role California Community Colleges play in developing the state’s workforce, closing achievement gaps, and providing educational access to all Californians.

Final Budget Agreement
The Legislature praised the $122.5 billion plan and claimed several victories, including increases to early education reimbursement rates, an increase in General Fund support to both the California State University and the University of California, and funds for the Homeless Assistance Program.  In addition, Governor Brown obtained his highest priority – putting an additional $2 billion above the statutory requirement – for a total augmentation of $3 billion, into the state’s Rainy-Day Fund.

The Legislature passed a balanced budget in time to meet the statutory deadline of June 15, however  funding details in areas such as housing will be finalized in the coming weeks.  The Legislature approved a total 2016-17 Proposition 98 package of $71.9 billion, up $2.8 billion from 2015-16.  The final agreement assumed the Governor’s local property tax estimates, a point of initial disagreement between the Administration and the Legislature.

Proposition 98
The final budget agreement increases the Proposition 98 Guarantee by a total of $626 million over the three-year period of 2014-15 to 2016-17, maintaining the Administration’s May Revision adjustments. The approved Proposition 98 guarantee funding levels are as follows:

  • 2014-15: $67.2 billion, funding increases by $463 million
  • 2015-16: $69.1 billion, funding decreases by $125 million
  • 2016-17: $71.9 billion, funding increases by $288 million

Community College 2016-17 Budget
For community colleges, the 2016-17 budget agreement provides just over $500 million in new ongoing Proposition 98 resources, and approximately $350 million in one-time funds. Below are a few highlights of the California Community College budget.  The final Budget Bill is Senate Bill 826 and the higher education Trailer Bill is Senate Bill 830.  A summary of Budget Trailer Bill items affecting community colleges is available here. The League's chart with the full community college budget agreement is available here.

We thank the many college leaders that throughout the budget process sent in letters, spoke with legislators, and supported our advocacy efforts for a budget that recognizes the important role and needs of community colleges and the students we serve.  Together, we made the case that educational quality and fiscal sustainability require a base augmentation for all 72 districts.