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Brown Signs All 27 Budget Bills; Line-Item Vetos Hit Child Care, Parks

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(Sacramento, CA)
Thursday, June 28, 2012
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Among the most significant blue pencil items that the governor issued late Wednesday evening:
-      $15 million to the Department of Education's Early Mental Health Initiative
-      $30 million to state preschool programs (equivalent to 12,500 kids' slots)
-      $10 million to child nutrition programs for school districts, county offices of education and charter schools
-      $4.7 million to In-Home Supportive Services administration
-      A total of $54 million ($23 million general fund, $31 million non-general fund) to the state's food stamp program known as CalFresh
-      $20 million to child care programs (which increases the number of slots eliminated from 10,600 in the legislature's budget to 14,000 in the final budget)
-      $22.6 million to college financial aid, resulting in a 5 percent across-the-board reduction to CalGrants awards.  Students at private and for-profit schools will see their tuition grants reduced.  Public university students will see their living expenses cut.
The governor also cut $31 million to state parks - money the legislature proposed transferring from special funds.  Brown says some of that money is already being used for other important purposes - and some would violate an agreement with the federal government.  But he left $10 million available to help transition parks on the state's closure list to other operators and another $13 million in state bond funds to modernize revenue collection systems.
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Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) said he's particularly disappointed with the line-item vetoes to child care and parks, but they "could have been much deeper.  I don't like it, but I'm prepared to move on."
Lawmakers involved in the state parks proposal were particularly upset with the governor.  "It's a slap in the face to all Californians who love their state parks," said Sen. Noreen Evans (D-Santa Rosa).  "I think they want to turn parks over to private operators - whether that's non-profit or for-profit operators - and they don't want to do anything that would get in the way of doing that."
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Note: An earlier version of this story put the governor's line-item vetoes to the state parks system at "$41 million." We've corrected that to $31 million.
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