May 19, 2022
California Federation of Republican Women
Janet Price, President
Submitted by the CFRW Legislative Analyst Committee
Karen Contreras, Gretchen Cox, Elaine Freeman,
Theresa Speake, and Cheryl Sullivan
Governor Newsom released his May revised budget on Friday the 13th. Hope that isn’t a bad omen. The budget is over $300 billion, with a surplus of about $98 billion. The proposed budget is complex but here are some of the items that may be of interest.
There is an $18.1 billion relief package to put money back into the pockets of Californians. It is not clear how this will occur. The Governor is proposing returning $400 per car owned to help with the high cost of fuel. This idea has not been accepted by the Legislature who believe the monies should go to those who do not have cars but are suffering as a result of inflation (isn’t that all of us?). The idea is to help address inflation by helping people pay their utility bills and rent and reduce costs for health care and childcare.
Climate change is a big item. There is $47.1 billion for a “climate commitment”. This is an increase of $32 billion over last year and is to tackle pollution, build climate-resilient water supplies, reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires, ensure grid reliability and accelerate clean energy solutions and protect communities from extreme heat. Within this budget item, there is $24.5 million for the Department of Industrial Relations to protect vulnerable populations through targeted outreach and education in multiple languages for employers and employees, and increased strategic enforcement before and during heat events to protect workers from heat-related illness and wildfire smoke hazards. There is $17 million to be spent over two years by the California Workforce Development Board to expand training partnerships in industry sectors that support the state’s response to extreme heat, such as heating, ventilation and cooling, cool roofs, urban forestry, climate-smart natural resource management, as well as other industries identified through collaboration with other state partners. All perfectly vague ideas.
Public safety would receive $660 million to ensure public safety with funding for new officers and mental health support for law enforcement, support for victims of sex trafficking, cracking down on internet crimes against children, and tackling the opioid crisis.
Homelessness would be allocated $14.7 million to include mental health services with investments to help move people off the streets and into the services and care they need, focusing particularly on Californians who suffer from mental health and substance use disorders. Between 2018 and 2021 alone, California already spent $13.1 billion on homelessness, according to the State Auditor, and the problem is only worsening.
Infrastructure funding of $37 billion, including money for broadband and new housing, as well as a historic investment of $128.3 billion to transform public education. This will be one to watch since it isn’t clear what “transforming” means to the education system.
When COVID-19 hit, the State financial analyst predicted a grave impact in terms of the State’s financial situation. The exact opposite has happened with the state receiving record-high tax revenue. As a result, there is a $97.5 billion surplus. Of this amount, the Governor is adding $23.3 billion for the State’s Rainy-Day Fund and of the amounts allocated, 97% would be spent on one-time expenditures, thereby not burdening future budgets with ongoing programs.
The Legislature will have bills known as Trailer bills that deal with implementing the budget. The Governor’s proposal will need to be put into legislation in order for the spending to occur.
More to come in the future on the budget.
Listen to hearings on bills that interest you – http://www.legislature.ca.gov/the_state_legislature/calendar_and_schedules/audio_tv.html
California Legislative Portal links – Express your support or opposition to a bill directly to the Legislative committee currently reviewing it (as an individual, not as a member of RWF or CFRW) – click here, or the bill’s author- click here, enter your bill # and look for the tab at top of the bill page labeled “Comments to Author”.