After President Donald Trump threatened to pull federal funding from the state of California for voting to become a sanctuary state Sunday, many from across the political spectrum are saying that a cutoff of federal funding is unlikely to happen.
Of the reasons Trump cannot pull the state’s federal funding, one is that the current amount of federal funds paid to the state is low in comparison to those received by other states and to the amount of money drawn in from taxes.
In January, the California Legislative Analyst’s Office compiled information from documents on the fiscal year 2014 about federal revenue and expenditures in California to determine how much federal money went into the state and where the money went. According to the data, the state receives only 99 cents from the federal government per dollar of taxes returned to the federal treasury.
The possibility of Trump cutting off federal funds from California is slim because of the political ramifications of Congress withdrawing funds, according to East Bay Young Republicans President Adam Castle. He also noted that this is not the first time a president has threatened to withdraw federal funds because of a state’s noncompliance. In 2016, the Obama administration considered removing federal funds from North Carolina after the passage of an anti-LGBTQ+ law that restricted which bathrooms transgender people could use.
“President Trump’s statement that he would consider defunding California, along with other cities and/or states that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration authorities, is similar to the tactics employed by former president Obama,” Castle said.
Another reason President Trump cannot defund the state, according to Castle, citing the Constitution, is that the ability to give and retract money is not a power of the president but a power of Congress.
Caiden Nason, vice president of membership of the Cal Berkeley Democrats, said a withdrawal of federal funds would be harmful to state-run programs and does not take into consideration the well-being of those who live in California.
“I hope that California faces the next four years with courage and becomes a sanctuary state,” Nason said. “I also hope that we don’t lose federal funding, and that President Trump, along with Republicans in Congress, realize what an asset our state is and how many people of all backgrounds would be affected by such a disastrous move.”