Gov. Gavin Newsom outlined his revised state budget proposal Friday, including a $300 billion topline spending budget and an unprecedented surplus of nearly $100 billion.
The $300.7 billion budget, including a $227.4 billion general fund, is roughly 5 percent larger than Newsom’s initial budget proposal that he unveiled in January. The revised proposal is released annually in May to account for updated tax revenue projections.
Newsom touted the proposal’s $97.5 billion surplus as something no other state in the county’s history has achieved.
While the state has obligations to reserve a certain amount of its budget to education funding and pension liabilities, the state would still have roughly $50 billion of the surplus available for discretionary spending.Much of that spending would be in one-time allocations, Newsom said, including sending roughly $11.5 billion to state residents in an effort to help combat high prices due to inflation.
The state would send $400 to state residents for each vehicle they own, with a cap of $800, under Newsom’s proposal.
“People are feeling deep stress, deep anxiety – you see that reflected in recent gas prices now beginning to go back up,” he said. “Our rebate is across the spectrum. For you, it could be a rebate to address the issue of groceries, it could be a rebate to address the other costs, burdens are placed on you.”
While residents who don’t own vehicles would not receive payments, Newsom argued they would also benefit under his budget via a $750 million plan to make all public transit free for three months.
Public transit agencies have struggled to regain their pre-pandemic ridership levels across the state as people work from home or remain concerned about catching the virus in a crowded bus or train car.
“We want to get more people back on the bus, more people back on the trains and remind them of the importance of that investment in infrastructure,” Newsom said.
The budget proposal also includes nearly $50 billion to combat climate change and drought, $660 million in law enforcement funding, $128.3 billion in education funding and $37 billion for infrastructure improvements like expanding broadband internet access and building new housing.
Newsom has long prodded Republican-controlled states like Texas and Florida over an array of policy differences, but on Friday Newsom argued that the state needed to contrast itself with other states that are likely to restrict abortion if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision this summer, as expected.
As such, Newsom proposed spending $125 million to expand access to reproductive health care and offering billions in grants to companies that relocate to California from states that restrict abortion access or LGBTQ rights.
“I’m mindful of the … polarization that persists in this nation, the impacts the (November) midterm elections may have in California and our future, the impacts 2024 may have on our fate and future, impacts the (U.S.) Supreme Court … may have on our fate and future,” Newsom said. “We’re doing everything we can to future-proof California.”