Gavin Newsom Unveils Another Historic Budget Plan
Governor Gavin Newsom unveiled his 2022-23 state budget proposal on Monday amid a protracted public health crisis and ongoing concerns over housing, crime and climate change. The blueprint totals $286.4 billion – a 9% increase over last year’s plan.
Record spending is made possible by an estimated $45.7 billion surplus. One of the big-ticket items in Newsom’s plan is the expansion of Medicaid to all low-income residents, including people residing in the country illegally.
To combat wildfire risk, the governor is proposing $648 for firefighters and equipment, plus an additional $1.2 billion for forest management and other preventative measures. The blueprint also includes $750 million for drought response.
Under Newsom’s plan, local governments would get an additional $1.5 billion for homeless housing and services and another $500 million to aid the clearing of homeless encampments. The governor also suggested he would support strengthening the state’s conservatorship laws to make it easier to compel the severely mentally ill into treatment.
“What’s happening on the streets and sidewalks in our state is unacceptable,” he said.
“I don’t want to see any more people die on the streets and call that compassion.”
The blueprint reflects growing public safety concerns as well. It includes $255 million in grants to local law enforcement and the creation of a new Smash and Grab Enforcement Unit to combat organized retail theft.
On the public health front, the plan proposes $2.7 billion for additional testing capacity and hospital assistance. The governor will also ask lawmakers to craft legislation that would require businesses with 26 or more employees to offer up to two weeks of supplemental sick leave for those who must take off work because of COVID-19.
Finally, the blueprint includes a record $119 billion in education funding, which comes out to $20,855 per pupil (see details here).
“I don’t need to tell you the stress and anxiety our kids have been under over the last few years, particularly as it relates to Covid,” said the governor. “This is serious, and we’re taking it seriously.”
This is just the opening salvo in negotiations with California lawmakers, who must pass a budget by June 15. The blueprint was met with praise by Senate President Toni Atkins on Monday.
“The Senate’s budget priority is to put California’s wealth to work for those who need it most—middle class families and those struggling to get by,” Atkins said in a statement. “The Governor’s initial budget proposal is in line with that goal, and we are already working to ensure the final 2022-23 budget will meet the needs of the present, build for the future, and reflect the lessons of the past. The responsible budgets Democratic Legislators and Governors have enacted over the last decade, using vital tools provided to us by the voters, have put us in position to make important investments in schools and infrastructure, grow the targeted tax credits that have proved so successful for families and small businesses, restore the California dreams of affordable housing and affordable college, and, most important, create a healthier, more sustainable and equitable California.”
Read the governor’s budget summary here.