California Governor Gavin Newsom’s sweeping budget proposals tied to infrastructure are causing division among Democratic lawmakers in the state.
Newsom introduced a series of budget bills related to infrastructure last month, but Democratic lawmakers have criticized the governor for introducing the legislation late, expressing concerns about not having sufficient time to consider potential impacts on communities and the environment.
Driving the news: The Legislature’s $311.7 billion spending plan unveiled on Monday increases funding for education, child care, public transit, and Medi-Cal over levels Newsom proposed in his revised budget in May.
- It also reverses Newsom’s plan to spend $450 million from the Safety Net Reserve.
- However, other areas that need to be ironed out with the governor include child care, health care, and transit.
- Lawmakers want to provide $1 billion in temporary rate increases for child care providers, release subsidized child care for 20,000 additional kids, and restore a $2 billion reduction in transportation funding that Newsom proposed in May.
- Newsom’s infrastructure plan remains the biggest point of contention between the governor and lawmakers.
- Newsom’s office has called the bills California’s “most ambitious permitting and project review reforms in a half-century” and said the legislation could reduce project timelines by more than three years in some cases.
- However, lawmakers have questioned why the bills must be passed now instead of through the regular and more deliberative legislative process for policy issues that concludes in September, or even next year.
What they’re saying: While Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon said they are “continuing to negotiate and make progress” on a budget deal with the governor, they remain at odds over Newsom’s plan to streamline major infrastructure projects and reduce environmental litigation delays.
- “It’s important to my Senate Democratic colleagues and I that streamlining is in keeping with California’s commitment to environmental protections,” Atkins said.