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1990 - "Duplicates" premieres at L.A. Phil; concerto by CalArts Music School dean Mel Powell wins Pulitzer Prize [story]
Mel Powell


Following last year’s record budget bolstered by the largest surplus in state history, California could spend another record to continue the fight against COVID, climate change and wildfires.
| Monday, Jan 10, 2022
Newsom Budget
California Gov. Gavin Newsom unveiled his proposed $286 billion 2022-23 fiscal year budget.

 

By Bianca Bruno

(CN) — As COVID-19 surges across the Golden State, Gov. Gavin Newsom unveiled his budget priorities for the 2022 fiscal year on Monday. Among his high hopes: to curb the pandemic through increased testing and tackle another emergency threatening California — climate change.

With the state flush with cash thanks to the prosperity of its highest earners despite the pandemic, Newsom’s record $286 billion budget proposal dubbed the California Blueprint suggests an additional $2.7 billion to increase vaccination, boosters, statewide testing and increase medical personnel.

“The goal this year is to do more testing, get those vaccine boosters, do what we can to fight the latest surge,” Newsom said in a press conference Monday.

State Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, said in a statement it is “critically important for California to replenish our depleted rent relief funds, given the continuing pandemic-related economic challenges renters face.”

He added: “So many people are still struggling to pay rent and stay housed. Ideally, the federal government will provide these funds, but if they do not, the state should do so.”

The massive proposed budget represents a 9% increase over last year’s then-record breaker. It prioritizes five areas identified by Newsom as “California’s biggest challenges:” Covid-19, climate change, homelessness, inequality and safety.

While C-19 remains top of mind, Newsom’s proposal includes historic investments in fighting the ravages of wildfire and climate change on an increasingly thirsty California.

“With major new investments to tackle the greatest threats to our state’s future, the California Blueprint lights the path forward to continue the historic progress we’ve made on our short-term and long-term challenges, including responding to the evolving pandemic, fighting the climate crisis, taking on persistent inequality and homelessness, keeping our streets safe and more,” Newsom said.

The spending proposal calls for $1.2 billion — in addition to last year’s $1.5 billion investment — to increase forest management and other wildfire prevention measures.

The $648 million wildfire spending package would fund forest thinning, replanting trees and prescribed burns, activities which improve biodiversity, watershed health, carbon sequestration, air quality and recreation.

Purchasing firefighting equipment also made the cut with $99 million earmarked to purchase four additional Fire Hawk Helicopters and $45 million to purchase additional Helitanker helicopters. The proposal earmarks $68 million to staff additional fire crews and convert seasonal fire crews to year-round availability.

It also calls for a $6.1 billion investment — in addition to $3.9 billion from last year’s budget — toward zero-emissions vehicles by continuing to transition to emissions-free trucks and buses and offering tax credits to companies that make zero-emissions vehicles, which Newsom noted are increasingly moving into the Golden State.

As for the judicial branch, Newsom’s proposal includes investments in technology innovation spurred by remote proceedings conducted during the Covid-19 pandemic.

More than $33 million in General Fund dollars would go toward implementing and supporting remote access to courtroom proceedings via a publicly accessible audio stream for every courthouse in the state.

Funding for 23 new trial court judgeships and $34.7 million to support technology modernization to promote public access to digital records and court proceedings by expanding electronic case filing, digitizing court documents, enabling online dispute resolutions and enhancing remote proceedings also make up the planned spending on the judiciary.

In a statement, California Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye said Newsom “clearly recognizes how important equal access to justice is for all Californians.”

But Assembly Republican leader Marie Waldron blasted Newsom’s proposed budget, saying it “isn’t going to transformative projects to improve the lives of Californians, but rather to clean up from years of Democratic mismanagement.”

She added: “They regulated our timber industry nearly out of existence — now we have to spend $44 million to rebuild it. They failed to build enough water storage (and are still not proposing to add any) — now we have to spend $750 million on drought projects. They bungled the response to Covid — now they want another $2.7 billion.”

###

A number of officials and organizations weighed in on the the Governor’s proposed budget. The statements can be viewed below:

Senate Republican Leader Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita:

“The governor likes to thank his fellow Democrats for ideas that originated within the Republican Caucus – but Californians see through that political gamesmanship. This budget includes many commonsense Republican requests such as a gas tax holiday, wildfire prevention and forest management, reversing tax increases on businesses, and helping keep business doors open, but so much more needs to be done.

“Senate Republicans worked effectively with former Governor Jerry Brown on bi-partisan solutions and we stand ready to work with Governor Newsom when he chooses to govern collaboratively to the benefit of all Californians.”

Senate Republicans called on the governor to prioritize several areas in the budget. View the letter here. Successful Republican requests include:

√ Gas tax holiday

√ Investment in wildfire prevention

√ Helping local government combat retail theft

√ Tax relief for job creators

“Since Newsom is so focused on ‘reimaging the future,’ he should take a better look at building water storage, improving the quality of life for everyday Californians, and analyzing why his spending on homelessness has failed,” said Wilk. “I look forward to working with my colleagues in the legislature to ensure good ideas remain in this budget and the challenges are addressed.”

Statement from California State University

The following statement can be attributed to California State University (CSU) Chancellor Joseph I. Castro:

“Gov. Newsom’s long-term and sustainable funding proposal is a bold step that will allow the California State University to appropriately plan to welcome additional talented and diverse students and ensure their achievement throughout the course of their college careers.

“With graduation rates at all-time highs, the CSU continues to be one of California’s best investments. Recurring and predictable increases to our budget allocation will lead to additional success for current students. This compact aligns with our ambitious Graduation Initiative 2025 goals of increasing graduation rates while promoting equity by eliminating the differences in completion rates between our students from underrepresented communities and their peers.

“We look forward to this ongoing partnership with Governor Newsom and encourage the Legislature to also support the multi-year compact which includes many of its own priorities. I am optimistic that the economy and the state’s coffers will continue their expansion, which would allow for subsequent investments to support additional priorities included in the Board of Trustees’ operating budget request. It is incumbent upon us to ensure that the CSU receives appropriate funding, from both recurring and one-time sources, in 2022-23 as well as future years.”

The following statement can be attributed to Isaac Alferos, President, California State Student Association:

“Today, Gov. Newsom unveiled a budget proposal that provided much needed investments to the California State University. This includes welcomed investments in affordability, deferred maintenance, and energy efficiency. The Cal State Student Association thanks the Governor for these new investments and looks forward to advocating with our higher education partners to ensure that the CSU is accessible, affordable, and sustainable for all students.”

The following statement can be attributed to Dr. Robert Keith Collins, Chair, Academic Senate of the California State University:

“On behalf of the Academic Senate CSU, it is an honor to convey the genuine appreciation felt by the faculty for the proposed budgetary support for the CSU. Continued support for the CSU ensures that faculty success continues to enable student success, especially during the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic. During these challenging times, this support will provide resources that further faculty engagement in the scholarship of teaching and learning, which will translate into the curricula students and graduates need to meet their own unique academic and workforce career goals and enable their social mobility.”

In his January budget proposal, Gov. Gavin Newsom outlined a multi-year compact to grow CSU base funding each year from 2022-23 through 2026-27. This five-year plan will increase the CSU’s state general fund appropriation by at least five percent each year (or a 2.9 percent increase to the CSU’s total operating budget). By 2026-27, the compact will have increased CSU’s recurring base funding by nearly $1.2 billion. These resources will support the CSU’s commitment to multiple student-focused goals in the areas of new enrollment, student success and equity, affordability, workforce preparedness and student technology.

For the 2022-23 fiscal year, the budget proposal would increase the CSU’s state general fund support by 7.2 percent, which includes an unallocated increase of $211.1 million in support of the Board of Trustees’ operating budget priorities, $81 million to increase enrollment by 9,434 full-time equivalent students in the 2022-23 academic year and $12 million to increase support for students who are foster youth, all in recurring funds.

The budget proposal also includes one-time allocations of $100 million for deferred maintenance and energy efficiency projects, $83 million to support the construction of a CSU Bakersfield Energy Innovation Center, and $50 million to support equipment and facilities at the university farms located on the Chico, Fresno, Pomona and San Luis Obispo campuses.

Statement from the California Retailers Association

The following statement can be attributed to Rachel Michelin, President & CEO, California Retailers Association:

“On behalf of retailers across California, I want to thank Governor Newsom for his commitment to addressing the growing problem of organized retail crime (ORC) in his budget.

“ORC is on the rise across the country and California is one of the hardest-hit states. There is no simple solution for reversing this trend, but the Governor’s retail theft Budget package is a big first step toward eliminating ORC that has victimized our employees, customers, and the communities we serve.

“The Governor’s plan for retail theft includes a number of elements that are essential to deterring and reducing ORC. Expansion of the CHP’s Organized Retail Crime Task Force and the establishment of other state-level theft units will provide more regions of the state with vital expertise, coordinating capabilities, and resources. Dedicated prosecutors will help bring resolution to these often challenging and complex cases without further compromising local prosecutorial resources. And none of this enforcement work could proceed without our partners in local law enforcement. They are essential and we fully support reinforcement of our local police and sheriffs.

“We are pleased to support the Governor’s retail theft package and we look forward to working for its passage in the Legislature. We need to send a message to these theft rings that California will not tolerate organized crime.”

The California Retailers Association is the only statewide trade association representing all segments of the retail industry including general merchandise, department stores, mass merchandisers, online markets, convenience stores, supermarkets and grocery stores, chain drug and specialty retail such as auto, vision, jewelry, hardware, and home stores. CRA’s mission is to promote, preserve, and enhance the retail industry in California by taking significant leadership positions in development of public policy and regulatory measures that impact members and the business climate in California. For more information visit the CRA website at www.calretailers.com.

Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights

The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA), the largest immigrant rights organization in California, cheers Gov. Gavin Newsom’s announced commitments to finish the job of ensuring the health of all Californians, regardless of immigration status, in announcing his draft 2022 state budget today.

We are also encouraged by his commitment to ensuring that all Californians have access to food through expansion of Food For All programs for senior Californians, regardless of their immigration status, and for outlays for COVID-19 pandemic response and to help new arrivals at the border. We also celebrate budget commitments that help integrate immigrants and strengthen programs for undocumented students. All are crucial to preparing all Californians to contribute to the state’s prosperity.

Some details:
– $819.3 million ($613.5 million from the general fund) in 2023-24 and $2.7 billion ($2.2 billion from the general fund) annually at full implementation, to expand full-scope eligibility to all income-eligible adults ages 26-49 regardless of immigration status. As of January 1, 2024, Medi-Cal will be available to all Californians who qualify.

– $35.2 million in general fund money for planning, increasing to $113.4 million yearly in 2025-26, to expand the CFAP program to Californians age 55 and older, regardless of immigration status.

– $74 million from the general fund to help the California Department of Public Health fight COVID-19, as well as humanitarian aid for for newly arrived migrants in border communities.

– $11.6 million in general fund money this year, and $500,000 yearly thereafter, to coordinate and innovate immigrant integration across state agencies.

– $2.7 billion to increase stipends for the Cal Grant B Dreamer Service Incentive Grant program to increase participant stipends from the equivalent of a The governor’s proposal includes $2.7 billion to be implemented by January 1, 2024 at the earliest.

– $30 million to the Employment Development Department’s Workforce Services branch to expand English language learner pilots in the integrated education and training programs to 15 sites across the state.

The following statements attributed to Angelica Salas, CHIRLA executive director:

“We look forward to working with Gov. Newsom to move this significant expansion of MediCal to those in our community who truly need it. California’s aging, undocumented residents need health care, as does everyone. This is a significant step that reaffirms our belief that health care is a human right.”

“Likewise, we are gratified by the significant expansion of food benefits for senior Californians, regardless of immigration status. COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on immigrants’ food security, and this contribution ensures they are prepared to give their best to this state.

“In addition to the monumental investments in our social safety net we welcome investment in language access programs and efforts to strengthen access to workforce development programs. Ensuring that the information needed to advance in the current workforce is available in multiple languages and meets people where they are is a key to unlocking economic mobility.

“These budget priorities reflect Gov. Newsom’s commitment to renewing and strengthening California’s tradition of welcoming immigrants. We will advance these and other important budget items with lawmakers in Sacramento as we look to the May revision and final budget in June. We are honored to be partners in this work, to ensure all of us can unlock all the benefits of California’s golden promise.”

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1 Comment

  1. Gary Rakestraw says:

    What about the unfunded pension liability of $160 billion as of Mar 8, 2021?

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