Jan. 11 (UPI) -- New California Gov. Gavin Newsom has unveiled a $144 billion budget for the country's most populous state -- a proposal that addresses a wide spectrum of issues.
The governor revealed his budget in an address in Sacramento Thursday. It follows the plan of his predecessor, Gov. Jerry Brown, in maintaining billions in reserves and spending on early childhood development, education, health care and emergency readiness.
Also included is $80.7 billion for K-12 schools and the state's community colleges, as well as nearly $500 million for California's two state college systems.
The overall budget projects a $21.4 billion surplus.
"[The plan] is to stack away as much money as you can and pay down as much debt as you can," Newsom said.
The 2019-20 proposal represents a 4 percent increase over the 2017 fiscal year, and calls for $7.8 billion above the legally required amount for payments into the California Public Employees' Retirement System and Teachers' Retirement System.
The extra funding would pay down rate increases, and Newsom's office estimates $6.9 billion could be saved over 30 years by paying down long-term debt now.
Pensions in California are considered underfunded, and government agencies annually make payments to reduce its debt.
"This is exactly what we've been looking for," school district lobbyist Derick Lennox told the Sacramento Bee. "Gov. Newsom is actually freeing up money to stay in the classroom by using really smart budgeting on pensions."