More than $1 billion in cap-and-trade funds unspent as budget negotiations begin anew

By Christine Mai-Duc, Los Angeles Times.

When budget negotiations were in danger of stalling last year, Gov. Jerry Brown and state lawmakers put off deciding how to spend more than $1 billion in funds collected from the auction of greenhouse gas pollution credits.

At the time, Brown said he expected the differences between his proposal and the Legislature's to be resolved "fairly expeditiously in the next few days or weeks."

Seven months later, a deal remains elusive.

Now, with next year's budget proposal on the table, advocates and environmentalists remain anxious about what will become of the cache of funds raised through the state's cap-and-trade program — created as part of the landmark 2006 law to combat climate change.