June 29, 2016
By Rebekah Cearley
On Monday, June 27, 2016, the Governor signed SB 826, the 2016-17 Budget Act, and a number of trailer bills to implement policy changes in the budget. For the first time since the 1980’s, the Governor did not exercise his line-item veto authority to reduce or eliminate any of the budget appropriations passed by the Legislature.
The budget includes $122.5 billion in General Fund expenditures, $51.6 billion of which is slated for K-12 education programs. The budget prioritizes preparing for the next economic downturn, one of the Governor’s top priorities, by placing an extra $2 billion into the state’s Rainy Day Fund, bringing the total fund balance to $6.7 billion. The budget also addresses one of the Legislature’s top priorities by including $400 million for affordable housing, tied to future regulatory reform, and authorizing development of a $2 billion bond program to address homelessness for individuals with mental health needs. Details of this program are still being negotiated.