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brownmics.jpgGov. Jerry Brown this morning signed a $96.3 billion spending plan that will shift more education money to poor and English-learning students and expand Medi-Cal coverage to more than 1 million low-income Californians under the federal healthcare overhaul.

The signing of the main budget bill, in a celebratory event with Democratic legislative leaders, followed a relatively frictionless budget negotiation ahead of the start of the new fiscal year Monday.

Brown used his line-item veto authority to cut $40 million from the spending plan.

Legislative Democrats initially urged about $2 billion more in discretionary, general fund spending than Brown proposed. They settled for about one-tenth of that amount, however, and accepted the governor's more conservative revenue estimates. After reaching agreement with the governor two weeks ago, they said the budget represented a significant step forward following years of budget cuts.

Republican lawmakers have said the budget does too little to reduce state debt, and they objected during the budget process to late-hour changes made to the budget and related legislation.

As Brown signed the budget, one piece of his initial proposal remains unsettled - an effort to overhaul California's enterprise zone program. After the state Senate on Tuesday approved a modified version of his plan, the matter is pending before the Assembly. It would significantly change a program that has provided tax breaks to employers in 40 locally-designated areas for years.

PHOTO: Gov. Jerry Brown talks to members of the press on Tuesday, April 23, 2013. The Sacramento Bee/Hector Amezcua


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