State lawmakers have approved their version of the state budget along party lines, setting up negotiations with Gov. Gavin Newsom to agree to a finalized budget by the end of the month.
Yet Central Valley lawmakers are blasting the legislature for submitting a budget that they consider to be reckless and unsustainable.
Driving the news: Lawmakers had to pass the budget act by Thursday in order to meet a constitutional deadline to ensure that they continue to get paid.
- The budget passed by lawmakers totals $312 billion and does not dip into the state’s $37 billion rainy day fund.
- Yet the Legislative Analyst Office warned that the state – which is facing a deficit of over $30 billion – reported that tax revenues would need to come in around $30 billion higher than it is forecasting to ensure that the state can afford its spending level over the next five years.
Between the lines: While largely similar to Newsom’s May revision, the legislature’s budget proposal includes some key differences that will need to be hammered over the next couple of weeks.
- One of the most major differences comes in the transportation sector. The legislature’s plan restores $1 billion in proposed general fund reductions to transit capital funding, allowing local agencies flexibility to use the money for operations. The legislature is also seeking to restore $200 million for the Active Transportation Program
What they’re saying: “This budget framework is incomplete, unsustainable and not fiscally responsible,” Asm. Vince Fong (R–Bakersfield) said.
- Fong, who serves as the Vice Chair of the Assembly Budget Committee, said the budget ignores the ongoing deficits and is financing misplaced priorities.
- “Instead of focusing on the Governor of Florida, Californians want the Governor of California to be focused on the crises in our state,” Fong said. “From an intensifying affordability crisis, housing shortages, rising crime, fentanyl, homelessness, flooding, hospital closures, an insurance crisis, the time for Governor Newsom to engage all sides is now.”
- Asm. Devon Mathis (R–Visalia) said the Assembly never ceases to amaze him given that the state had a $100 billion surplus last year and now faces a major deficit, and he called out lawmakers for not funding new water storage projects, suspending next month’s eight percent gas tax increase, or for funding wildfire prevention and forest management.
- “This is an irresponsible budget based on risky revenue estimates that continues to make life harder for working Californians,” Mathis said. “I will not support a fairy-tale budget bill and I hope, in the future, this body will get responsible about addressing the issues our state faces. We are the ‘so-called’ fourth largest economy on the planet and our people live in third world conditions.”