16:47 GMT28 May 2020
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    On Thursday, California state lawmakers approved a $138 billion budget that will use surplus cash to fund homeless programs, child care and universities, as well as expanding homeless and welfare programs.

    The new budget, approved by a Democratic majority, will increase spending in the US state of California — the Earth's fifth-largest economy — by 9 percent for the fiscal year beginning in July, KPBS reported. 

     

    "We've done something pretty great for people in California," said Democratic Senator Connie Leyva, pointing out that California is seeing its largest surplus since 2000.

     

    The plan was negotiated by Democrats Governor Jerry Brown and Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins of San Diego, as well as Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon of Lakewood.

     

    In addition, lawmakers are planning on placing $14 billion into a state rainy day fund of reserved cash to be spent if there is a budget emergency brought on by a decrease in revenue or a natural disaster.

     

    Although Republican lawmakers commended the savings, they also claimed that the state is not doing enough to tackle expenses for pensions and retiree health care.

     

    "In a year when one enjoys a bumper crop, one must set aside cash and pay down the credit card balance," Senator John Moorlach, a Republican from Costa Mesa in Orange County, said. "We've got to get ahead of this mess."

     

    Although resource inequality in the US is known to be on the rise, California legislators appear to be bucking the trend, as much of the budget windfall will go toward providing assistance for the many people living in poverty in the nation's most populated state.

     

    Monthly grants for California's state welfare program, People on CalWorks, will increase by an eye-opening 10 percent in April. In addition, the budget also factors in $500 billion for emergency grants for multiple programs including housing vouchers and shelter construction, as a means of alleviating homelessness in the Golden State.

     

    The budget will also fund universities, including California State University and the University of California. An online community college for working adults who cannot attend school in person will also be established.

     

    The state capitol annex building, connected to the Capitol and housing lawmaker offices, will also be rebuilt.

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