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.
DSA Review Threshold
The Governor signed SB 836, the general government trailer bill, which includes a change to the Division of the State Architect (DSA) project review threshold. The bill increases the minimum project cost threshold for DSA review as follows:
- Structural projects – from $42,218 to $100,00
- Non-structural projects – from $168,187 to $225,000.
Other Facilities Items
There were no significant changes on the school facilities items as previously reported:
- Proposition 39 – Provide $398.8 million in Proposition 39 energy efficiency funding for K-12 schools. This is an increase of $85.4 million over FY 2015-16.
- Safe Drinking Water – Includes $9.5 million in one-time Proposition 98 funds for the State Water Resources Control Board, in consultation with the Department of Education, to administer a grant program for the purpose of improving access to, and the quality of, drinking water in public schools, consistent with the Legislature’s intent that school facilities be maintained in “good repair.” Grants will be provided for projects such as installation of water bottle filling stations, and installation or replacement of drinking water fountains and treatment devices. CASH supported this proposal.
- Discretionary Funds – Provides $1.28 billion in one-time discretionary funds, which also pays down the K-12 education mandates backlog.
Additionally, the Legislature rejected the Governor’s May Revision proposal to establish a $100 million Emergency Repair Revolving Loan Program, so this program was not included in the final budget. The program was intended to provide temporary funding to schools with insufficient resources to quickly address imminent health and safety issues that would cause students to be displaced.