NewsCovering California


Governor Gavin Newsom: Kern County could benefit from move to carbon neutrality

The state has extra money and needs to spend it
California Budget
Sacramento Capitol
Posted at 10:21 AM, May 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-14 20:41:01-04

SACRAMENTO, Calif (KERO) — Governor Gavin Newsom says a portion of $750 million in funding is headed for Kern County with the goal of achieving carbon neutrality.

Carbon neutrality refers to achieving net-zero carbon dioxide emissions. This can be done by balancing emissions of carbon dioxide with its removal or by eliminating emissions from society.

"Here's something that's a cause that's important to me and a cause that I also hope is important to you and that's transitioning to a carbon-neutral economy. We're not playing small ball here. And I hope people can appreciate - particularly in Kern County - I hope folks in Kern County can appreciate because Kern County will be the disproportionate beneficiary of $750 million for transitioning to carbon neutrality. We will. We are transitioning."

On top of this, Newsom says transitioning to greener modes of energy production will help create jobs. Solar and wind projects could create jobs for people around the state in an attempt to counter the losses created by eliminating new oil drilling.

Newsom has previously proposed measures to eliminate fracking and oil drilling in the state which would cost Kern County roughly 15,000 jobs. Roughly 70 percent of Kern's economy relies on the oil industry to stay afloat.

UPDATE (11:00 AM): (AP) — California Gov. Gavin Newsom is delivering a booming spending plan to the Legislature. It's fully one-third larger than the state's current budget. Newsom revealed his initial budget proposal in January. He updated that proposal Friday based on more than $100 billion in new money. That's a combination of a $76 billion surplus of state revenues plus $27 billion in federal coronavirus aid. In his plan, Newsom wants to give 11 million people direct payments of up to $1,100 and pay for all 4-year-olds to go to pre-kindergarten for free. He also wants to give $1.5 billion to small businesses hurt by the pandemic. Lawmakers have until mid-June to consider the plan.

UPDATE (10:30 AM): (AP) — California Gov. Gavin Newsom wants to use a sliver of the state's massive budget surplus to encourage guaranteed income programs. These programs give poor people money each month and they decide how to spend it. Newsom's proposal, announced Friday, would not create a statewide guaranteed income program. Instead, it sets aside $35 million over five years to help local governments fund pilot programs. Critics say free money is a disincentive for people to work. Stockton ran a pilot program in 2019 and since then other cities have embraced the idea. Last month, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced a plan to give $1,000 monthly to 2,000 households.

Friday Governor Gavin Newsom is expected to announce his updated budget proposal to the state legislature including that $100 billion surplus of state revenue and federal coronavirus dollars.

Newsom gave the original budget plan back in January to spend $227 billion this fiscal year. The governor's plan put a focus on vaccinating Californians, getting students back into the classroom, and repairing the damage done from the pandemic.

The original plan revealed that the pandemic drained much of the state's reserves. As California went from a budget surplus to a budget deficit in 2020. The pandemic caused the state to cut raises and salaries, as well as other government spending to get through the pandemic.

Now the state has extra money and is looking to spend it.

The governor has held several press briefings in the past week announcing plans to spend that money throughout this past week. On Thursday he asked lawmakers to add $1.5 billion to a state program that provides grants to small businesses. The increase would boost the program's budget from $2.5 billion to $4 billion.

Another proposal would add another $12 billion to the state's struggle with homelessness. The state would expand Project Homekey and convert existing buildings such as motels into housing units. Other money would go towards helping with care services for the homeless.

Newsom is also looking to expand the Golden State stimulus package that was aimed to give residents of California an additional stimulus payment. Two-thirds of Californians are eligible for the $600 check with families receiving an additional $500 bucks.

But why rush to spend the money?

Earlier this week 23ABC spoke to Dave Anderson from the Moneywise Guys who explains that the governor has too according to a lesser-known law.

"There was a voter-approved amendment in I believe 1979 that said if we have too much revenue we have to give that back in the form of a rebate," said Anderson.

This law is known as the Gann Limit.

So in part, the governor has no choice. Now where they spend it and how they spend it they do have a choice on that.

On Monday Newsom announced that the state would cross the limit. That would make it the second time in the state's history that the law has taken effect.