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California governor: State has $97.5 billion budget surplus

Gavin Newsom
Posted at 11:19 AM, May 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-13 15:04:30-04

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California expects to enter the next budget year with a record-setting $97.5 billion budget surplus.

Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that number Friday as he laid out how he wants to spend the state's roughly $300 billion state budget. That's the biggest budget in state history.

It was fueled by surging tax revenues through the winter and spring. It means Newsom has billions more to propose new programs.

“Backed by a robust surplus and grounded in our unshakable values, we're paving the California Way forward to prosperity and progress for all. With historic investments, we’re doubling down on our formula for success and making sure no one is left behind – supporting working families and businesses, tackling climate change, expanding health care access, making our communities safer, and more,” said Governor Newsom in a statement. “While gridlock persists in Congress and right-wing fanatics turn statehouses across the country into laboratories of hate and oppression, here in California, we’re putting in the work to grow our economy and implement real, inclusive policy change to create a brighter future for all.”

Among other things, he wants to give $400 checks to car owners to offset high gas taxes and spend more on the drought, and help more women get abortions in California.

He touched on multiple topics he wants to put money towards including $2.7 billion for emergency rental assistance and $1.4 billion to help pay Californians' utility bills.

Other parts of his proposal included health care worker retention stipends, a 12-month pause in the diesel sales tax rate, middle-class health care subsidies, and fee waivers for child care.

Newsom also spoke on billions of dollars he'd like to put toward infrastructure and housing in the state. And he spoke extensively on ways he plans to invest in public education.

The governor's office released a breakdown of some of the things the budget will cover:

  • $18.1 Billion Inflation Relief in direct payments to help address inflation, help people pay their utility bills and rent, and reduce costs like health care and child care.
  • $47.1 billion climate commitment - an increase of $32 billion this year - 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.
  • $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.
  • $14.7 million to confront homelessness and the mental health crisis with investments to help get people off our streets and into the services and care they need, focusing particularly on Californians who suffer from mental health and substance use disorders.
  • $37 billion to rebuild California with money for infrastructure including broadband and new housing, as well as a historic investment of $128.3 billion to transform public education.
  • Billions of dollars to invest in Californians and the Governor’s pro-life agenda, including funding to:
  • Improve our education systems with universal preschool, after school and school meals; and expanded, more affordable child care
  • Make health care more accessible and affordable through Medi-Cal expansion and subsidies, increased reproductive health care access, home visiting, and support for black infant health, youth mental health and suicide prevention, and addressing adverse childhood experiences.
  • Clean up our environment by tackling pollution, particularly in disadvantaged communities that bear the brunt of its impacts.
  • Ensure our communities are safe with violence prevention programs, expansive gun buyback programs and getting fentanyl and other opioids off our streets.

Senator Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger) released the following statement after Governor Newsom released his revised budget:

“Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has put a price hike on the cost of food and energy around the world, including here at home,” said Senator Melissa Hurtado. “Fighting inflation and lowering the costs of food, energy, and our water begins with support for our farmworkers, farmers, food processors, and our water infrastructure. Water insecurity in the Western States can make matters worse for our energy and food supply. California has the ability to invest and be a fiscal partner to our federal counterparts on water, food, biosecurity, and task forces that will tackle crime and drugs.”

Statement from California Health & Human Services Agency Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly :

"Governor Newsom's revised budget plan continues to prioritize and reflect California’s values – defending a woman’s right to choose, expanding access to health care for all Californians, and protecting the most vulnerable. The May Revision builds on previous efforts by making additional investments to support our most vulnerable communities and provide early interventions to address needs before they reach crisis levels.

“The May Revision further enhances the health and well-being of all Californians by building upon the significant investments made in 2021-22. The proposed investments will improve the state’s ability to serve the whole person, and advance the goal that health care, housing, and social needs are considered together, not solely through the lens of separate funding streams or programs. These proposals address the needs of those with serious mental illness, those who are justice-involved, immigrants, children, and aging populations and will improve the lives of all Californians, including our most vulnerable residents while simultaneously addressing underlying inequities in our society.

“As we move forward, beyond the 2022-23 Budget Year, we will leverage the multiyear investments made in the 2021 Budget Act and proposed in the Governor’s Budget and May Revision to further our vision of a Healthy California For All. To do so, we will fortify the foundations of programs that serve all Californians. Key initiatives over the next several years that will advance this effort include the implementation of CalAIM, the development of a behavioral health system for all children and youth, the development of a 21st Century public health system, and the build up of a health and human services workforce that will be able to meet the needs of all Californians."

California Assembly Republicans issued the following statement:

“Everyday Californians are being crushed by an affordability crisis worsened by 40-year high inflation. While the Governor makes flashy political headlines, he continues to fail to make investments that will help Californians endure these tough financial times.

“Ignoring the people’s financial burdens, the Governor refuses to provide immediate gas tax relief. He did not propose any permanent tax relief to deal with a worsening affordability crisis exacerbated by his policies. Given the bone dry conditions caused by the third year of drought, he stubbornly dismisses the cry to build more water storage and accelerate wildfire prevention projects.

“The Governor may not want to acknowledge it, but California is in crisis and his budget is unsustainable.

“This is yet another missed opportunity to help California families, small businesses and workers who continue to be forced to flee the state.”