The Latest: California may boost spending on Hepatitis C

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The Latest on Gov. Jerry Brown's revised budget proposal (all times local):

2:55 p.m.

Caring for inmates and lower-income residents who contract the Hepatitis C virus is costing California much more than expected.

The revised budget Gov. Jerry Brown released Friday calls for spending $176 million more next year to expand treatment for the blood-borne liver disease.

The bulk of the money — nearly $106 million — would treat a projected 22,000 infected inmates. That's about 17 per cent of the prison system's nearly 130,000 inmates.

Another $70 million would expand treatment for patients age 13 and up who receive state-funded health coverage through the Medi-Cal program.

The money would permit treating infected patients at all stages of the virus to keep up with evolving national standards.

There are some exceptions, including those who are projected to have less than 12 months to live.

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12:15 p.m.

Cities and counties would receive $359 million to help California's growing homeless population under Gov. Jerry Brown's final budget proposal.

Federal data from 2017 shows about a fourth of homeless people in the United States live in California.

Brown has been criticized for not acting more quickly to address the problem. The Democrat said the money will help but more will be needed to solve root causes of homelessness including mental illness and drug addiction.

Brown says the proposed funding would be a one-time expenditure to tide communities over until new fees approved last year start generating significant revenue.

The money would include $50 million for people will mental illness. Brown's office says about 25 per cent of homeless Californians have severe mental illness.

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10:50 a.m.

Republicans in the California Legislature are generally praising Gov. Jerry Brown's fiscal prudence in the budget proposal released Friday.

Assembly Republican Leader Brian Dahle of Bieber says California should focus on paying down state debts, building rainy-day reserves and preparing the state's infrastructure for the future.

They're also reminding Californians of one of their political touchpoints this June: the passage of a statewide gas tax, which they're hoping to repeal.

Republican Assemblyman Jay Obernolte of Hesperia says the budget shows there was no need for a gas tax, since California has a surplus of more than $8 billion.

The Democratic governor is proposing to set aside $13 billion in the state's rainy day fund.

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10:30 a.m.

Gov. Jerry Brown says it's easy to get "giddy" over California's projected budget surplus, but says he's determined to leave the most responsible fiscal condition he can for his successor.

The proposed spending plan Brown released Friday would set aside $13 billion in California's rainy day fund for the next recession.

He says he's committed to fully funding the state's rainy day fund to weather what he says will be a coming economic storm.

The Democratic governor wants to save most of the surplus to protect spending during a future recession. But he proposed spending more for homeless Californians, state buildings, mental health and schools.

Legislative Democrats and outside interest groups are pushing to boost funding for health care, higher education, welfare, child care and a wide variety of other initiatives.

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10:15 a.m.

Gov. Jerry Brown has proposed a $137.6 billion general fund budget for California as revenues continue to surge.

Brown released his spending plan Friday, kicking off his last round of negotiations with Democratic legislative leaders.

Brown's latest budget is up nearly $6 billion from his earlier proposal in January. The Democratic governor wants to save most of the surplus to protect spending during a future recession. But he proposed $2 billion for infrastructure, including universities, courts, state facilities and flood control and $359 million for homelessness.

He's also still pushing for a new online community college to train working adults who don't have the time and flexibility for a traditional college program.

Legislative Democrats and outside interest groups are pushing to boost funding for health care, higher education, welfare, child care and a wide variety of other initiatives.

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12 a.m.:

California Gov. Jerry Brown is preparing to release his last state budget proposal.

His revised spending plan to be published Friday will kick off a month of negotiations with the Legislature about how to spend a growing budget surplus.

The Democratic governor last pegged the surplus at $6.1 billion in January and proposed spending almost none of it. He preferred to direct all but $300 million to reserves.

Since then, revenue during the busy April tax-filing season came in even higher than expected.

Brown has consistently warned that California is riding a wave of economic growth and the budgetary good times will eventually end. But he's facing pressure to increase funding on a wide variety of legislative priorities including higher education, child care and firefighting.


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