CA lawmakers pass 2022-23 state budget proposal

Infographic of revised 2022-23 California state budget
Flora Huynh/Staff

Related Posts

The California State Legislature passed a $300 billion state budget revision Monday, prioritizing issues including affordable housing, public education and climate change.

Though the proposed budget was passed by a vote of 28 to eight and contains $8 billion in direct relief to Californians, California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s original plan provided an additional $3.5 billion to taxpayers to help them meet “everyday costs,” according to Newsom’s office. The reduction came after a California State Senate floor analysis found the original budget was likely unsustainable, as it would spend $3 billion more than the state’s appropriations limit.

“While today is an important step forward, there is more work to be done,” Newsom said in a statement. “We look forward to working with the legislature to craft a responsible budget that gets more Californians the immediate relief they need, meets our state’s energy needs and ensures long-term fiscal stability.”

The budget would also allocate $4.3 billion for one year of a multiyear $21 billion climate and energy package, $5.5 billion for one year of a multiyear transportation package and $9.6 billion for the “highest level of k-12 funding ever,” according to California Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley.

According to Skinner, the budget also allocates $1.55 billion for one year of a two-year affordable housing package and includes funding for houselessness programs.

Additionally, $500 million is proposed in the budget in both fiscal years 2022 and 2023 for the Homeless Housing, Assistance and Prevention Program, according to Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín. He added the city has previously used funds from this program to provide permanent housing to those experiencing houselessness.

“While the State budget is still being finalized, we know it will include critical services to support municipal governments, expand affordable housing and increase homeless services,” Arreguín said in an email. “Billions of dollars are proposed for various affordable housing programs, which we hope we can tap into to expand our affordable housing stock.”

The legislature’s budget allocates $1.2 billion for housing projects across all three California higher education systems, along with $251 million for the UC system and $83 million for UC Berkeley to become the first public research university in the United States to run entirely on clean energy. Arreguín noted the increased funding would benefit campus in its goals to expand financial aid and increase student housing.

According to Ricardo Lara, state insurance commissioner, the budget proposal made use of a “historic” surplus. State Controller Betty Yee said this surplus should be further used to increase reserves and protect against an economic downturn.

“I encourage the Governor and Legislative leaders to strongly consider current economic conditions as they continue state budget negotiations,” Yee said in a statement. “Equity markets have deteriorated, inflation is on the rise, the supply chain continues to be a challenge, and the prospect of a recession has become a very real possibility.”

Similarly, during Monday’s California State Senate floor session, state Sen. Andreas Borgeas, R-Fresno, criticized the lack of funding for the agricultural industry considering the large surplus.

Other lawmakers also voiced concerns about a lack of support for working-class people and criticized the lack of bipartisan collaboration during the session. State Sen. Jim Nielsen, R-Red Bluff, said the legislature could not fully represent its constituents by only considering one party’s perspective.

According to Skinner, the budget proposal was largely based on Newsom’s May budget revision and was refined using input from more than 100 stakeholders.

“Having a budget that builds on the recommendations of front-line firefighters, homeowners, and business owners who have suffered losses will help us keep people safer,” Lara said in an email. “This budget helps us take action to protect Californians.”

The legislature’s budget must be negotiated and signed by Newsom before it is enacted.

Maria Young and Tiffany Lieu contributed to this story.

Contact Maria Young and Tiffany Lieu at [email protected].