GOOD NEWS IN STATE BUDGET FOR BAY AREA COUNCIL PRIORITIES
Gov. Jerry Brown traveled south on June 20 to sign a state budget that acknowledges several of the Bay Area Council’s top policy priorities. The overall $156 billion spending plan includes $230 million for various affordable housing programs and $264 million for early education. The housing money, $130 million of which will be channeled from cap-and-trade revenue to support transit-oriented development, comes as the Bay Area confronts a severe housing shortage. While the funding is a positive sign that housing is getting increased attention in Sacramento, the level represents a drop in the bucket against the overall problem. And, it’s unclear how much of the funding will flow to the Bay Area. The Council continues to work with stakeholders in the region on both short- and long-term strategies for spurring more housing across all income levels. The budget also sets aside $264 million for early education, including 11,500 preschool slots for low-income 4-year-olds by June 2015 and another 31,500 slots in future years.