California Gov. Gavin Newsom presented a $213.5 billion state spending plan Thursday that boosts the states reserves and invests in education, wildfires and more. Its $4.5 billion larger than the budget plan the Democrat introduced in January. He’ll now negotiate with lawmakers.
Here’s a look at what’s new:
Newsom wants to spend $1.4 billion more on boosting state reserves and paying down liabilities for a total of $15 billion. He’s helped by a $21.5 billion surplus from this year’s state budget.
More than a third would go toward reserves such as the “rainy day” fund that can only be tapped during economic emergencies. He’s also putting nearly $400 million into an education reserve fund, its first deposit ever. He’s proposed a fresh $150 million to help school districts struggling to pay down teacher pension liabilities as part of a more than $3 billion one-time payment.
Newsom’s new proposal puts $90 million toward loan forgiveness for new teachers who agree to teach in high-need schools for up to four years, particularly in subjects such as special education, science and math. He says that could cover up to $20,000 in debt for 4,500 teachers.
He’ll open 10,000 spots in state-funded preschool programs next year but said the hoped-for addition of 20,000 more people will have to wait due to “lower projected revenues” in future years. He’s giving $150 million less than first proposed to expand access to kindergarten programs.
He’s boosting special education funding in K-12 schools by $119 million and adding 14,000 slots in state-run childcare programs.
Newsom wants to give local communities $150 million more to construct and expand emergency homeless shelters, for a total of $650 million. He’s also proposing $10 million more to help public colleges and universities with rapid rehousing of homeless students and $20 million for legal aid for people facing eviction. These are several items in a homelessness package that amounts to $1 billion in spending.
Newsom includes $75 million to study power line de-energization and $41 million for inspections and reviews of utility company wildfire plans. It adds nearly $40 million to the $769 million he proposed in January for wildfire prevention, response and recovery and other natural disasters.
He has sharply scaled back what the state is expected to collect in tax revenue from sales of legal marijuana.
He’s projecting the state will raise $359 million next year, down $223 million from what he projected in January. That’s due to slower-than-expected pot sales since the state began legal sales Jan. 1, 2018.
Newsom wants to spend $71 million to tackle substance abuse in prisons through medication-assisted treatment and other measures.
He’d invest $130 million to make the state’s transportation system free of carbon emissions, including by replacing and upgrading diesel engines in agriculture.
He also wants to boost spending by $25 million to train providers who can conduct trauma screenings of children who receive Medi-Cal, the state’s health insurance program for the poor. He’d spend $30 million more on foster care programs including recruiting parents.