Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins (D-San Diego). Image courtesy Atkins office

The California Legislature approved a $156.4-billion state budget on Sunday that includes a reserve fund as well as spending on preschool education and a high-speed rail network, drawing praise from Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, a Democrat who represents San Diego.

“The budget we passed today is balanced and on time, but most important, it makes investments that make people’s lives better,” Atkins said in a statement. “The budget also plans for the future and prepares for emergencies by responsibly paying down debt and building up reserves.

“No budget is perfect, and no side got everything they wanted. But with the investments we made and the restraint we showed, this budget absolutely keeps faith with the vital priorities of ensuring stability and expanding opportunity.”

The Assembly approved the budget 55-24. It received a 25-11 vote in the Senate.

The ranking Republican in the budget process,  Jeff Gorell from Camarillo, praised the budget’s reserve fund, but still voted against it because it ” increases state spending to a record level, undercuts local control of schools, and contains a number of legally questionable practices” to pay for high-speed rail and other programs.

“While we made some progress in agreeing to a stronger California Rainy Day fund, the majority party has failed to make education our greatest priority, and continues to waste our limited funds irresponsibly on high-speed rail and entitlement programs,” he said.

The budget was approved less than six hours before the constitutional deadline and now goes to Gov. Jerry Brown for signature.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.