The Democratic governor announced a relatively small number of line item vetoes to the $156.3 billion spending plan, many of which his office described as technical. The total value of the appropriations Brown eliminated or reduced was expected to be minimal.
"This on-time budget provides for today and saves for the future," Brown, who traveled to San Diego to sign the budget document, said in a prepared statement. "We're paying off the state's credit card, saving for the next rainy day and fixing the broken teachers' retirement system."
The budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1 is a compromise plan between Brown and Democratic lawmakers. It includes an expansion of child care and preschool for poor children and more money for high-speed rail, Medi-Cal and welfare-to-work. It also puts about $1.6 billion into a special rainy-day account.
For Brown, the budget represents a dramatic improvement from four years ago, when the state faced a deficit of more than $26 billion. The budget he signed that year, the first of his third term, reduced higher education and social services spending. In 2012 he signed a budget that relied on additional cuts and a multibillion-dollar tax increase.
With the economy improving and the passage of that tax measure, however, Brown's last two budget negotiations have proved relatively frictionless. Except for in 2009, when lawmakers enacted a budget in February that fell out of balance and had to be re-opened in May, the budget Brown signed Friday was the earliest on record going back nearly 30 years.
PHOTO: Gov. Jerry Brown speaks at a news conference at the California state Capitol in Sacramento on Jan. 10, 2013. The Sacramento Bee/Randall Benton.