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Universities, Welfare Get Boost In California Budget Deal

SACRAMENTO (AP) -- Gov. Jerry Brown and Democratic legislative leaders agreed to boost funding for California State University and increase grants for people on welfare as part of a budget compromise released on Friday.

The deal did not include an expansion of Medi-Cal health care coverage to young people living in the country illegally, which had been a top priority for Assembly Democrats looking to reduce the ranks of the uninsured.

Brown reached the deal with Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, D-Paramount, and Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins, D-San Diego.

Brown in May proposed increasing funding for both university systems by $92 million each. Friday's compromise would give CSU another $105 million on top of Brown's proposal, while University of California would get an additional $5 million.

The compromise also includes $500 million in one-time spending on emergency grants to help cities and counties reduce homelessness. It's double what the governor proposed spending on the grants from surplus state revenue in his May budget plan.

Low-income people on CalWorks, the state welfare program, would see their monthly grants rise in April, the start of a multiyear effort to boost the grants to lift the income of the poorest Californians to 50 percent of the federal poverty level.

Economists estimate that California has the largest surplus in decades, but Brown and senior lawmakers disagree on its size. Estimates range from $8.8 billion to more than $11 billion.

"No single budget can capture all the opportunities California has, or meet all the challenges we face — but the smart and sensible choices in this budget absolutely move California closer to where we want and need to be," Rendon said.

A legislative committee was scheduled to consider the agreement later Friday. The full Assembly and Senate face a June 15 deadline to approve the deal.

© Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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