As the Legislature prepares to pass Governor Brown’s last budget of this term it’s worth noting how it compares to his previous three spending plans. Using the numbers from Department of Finance, I was able to craft a quick chart showing all four years of spending (4th being tentative) by major program areas. This is a really simple illustration that doesn’t give the obsessive budget wonks much information about the individual state programs where the real policy takes place. So just consider this either a primer, refresher, or just something to look at.
To no one’s surprise, K-12 education takes the cake, consisting of over 40 percent of the state’s budget each year, followed by Health and Human Services, Higher Ed, CDCR, Natural Resources, and Tax Relief. It is difficult to see on this version of the chart but Business and Consumer Services, Transportation, and Cal-EPA are charted, they just make up so little of the state spending plan they barely make an appearance. Click through to get a full version of the interactive chart housed at Google Drive.
Based on this visualization, it is hard to make a case that any major program area saw dramatic increases over Brown’s first term. K-12 funding being the most dramatic, likely due to growing revenues and Proposition 98 guarantee, Proposition 30’s requrements, and the deferred payments to Proposition 98. The gradual increase in spending across the major programs was also expected with the economy recovering and the state still floating on Proposition 30 tax revenues.
The figures for the 2014-15 FY are likely to change once we get a final version of the budget passed, line-item vetoed, and signed.