The big day is finally here: Gov. Jerry Brown will release his revised budget proposal at 10 a.m. in Room 1190 of the Capitol. Lawmakers and lobbyists and advoctaes are watching closely to see whether Brown wants to spend California’s surging tax revenue or sock it away. Among the major questions to keep an eye on:
▪ What will the final revenue number be? Income tax collections have blown past expectations this year, exceeding Brown’s estimates by $1.6 billion in April alone. The state could have billions more to work with than in his preliminary budget plan in January.
▪ How much of that money is already secured? Because of Proposition 98 and other obligations driven by recession-era cuts to school funding, K-14 education may be guaranteed most of the additional tax revenue. There could also be less available for new spending depending on how Brown interprets the rainy-day reserve and debt-repayment measure approved by voters in November.
▪ Will Brown introduce any new anti-poverty initiatives? The governor has so far resisted calls from activists to reverse recession-era cuts to social services, but pressure continues to mount. Expanding child care options for low-income families and health care for undocumented immigrants are both priorities for legislative Democrats.
COUNT ‘EM UP: After a series of lengthy and contentious committee hearings, SB 277 is finally ready for a vote. The proposal to eliminate California’s religious and personal belief exemptions for vaccines was quietly amended last week, allowing it to bypass financial considerations and head straight to the Senate floor, where author Sen. Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, will bring the bill for consideration during floor session at 9 a.m.
BACK ON TRACK: An Amtrak train derailment in Philadelphia this week has vaulted passenger rail safety back into the spotlight just as the Legislature plans to take up the issue. A joint hearing of the Senate Select Committee on Passenger Rail and the Assembly Select Committee on Rail will address funding, control and safety in California’s passenger rail network, 10 a.m. in Room 4202 of the Capitol.
I <3 RONNIE: California politicians love Ronald Reagan. They love him. So they may enjoy the UC Center Sacramento’s latest lunchtime talk, noon at the center on K Street, in which Matthew Beckmann, an associate professor of political science at UC Irvine, offers a peek behind the scenes of the Reagan White House.
CELEBRATIONS: Happy birthday to U.S. Reps. Jackie Speier, D-Hillsborough, who turns 65 today, and Mimi Walters, R-Laguna Niguel, who turns 53.