Gov. Gavin Newsom pitched his revised spending plan for the state Friday, offering details on how he plans to allocate the whopping $286 billion state budget in the coming year.
The budget, which is one-third higher than the state’s current spending plan, is fueled by a $100 billion surplus of state tax and federal stimulus dollars. Through the American Rescue Plan, California is set to receive $27 billion from the federal government. Gov. Newsom said this surplus will help the state come “roaring back” after a tough pandemic year.
“This historic, unprecedented, generational and transformational budget is 100% the direct responsibility of 40 million people strong that not only met the moment over the course of the last year, but met many different moments and challenges,” Gov. Newsom said during the budget presentation. “Their remarkable resiliency, their capacity for renewal and recovery is demonstrable and is going to I think set this state up for not just a comeback year, but for an extraordinary decade, arguably century, ahead.”
Within the spending plan, Gov. Newsom plans to allocate $12 billion to address the homelessness crisis, and said he is hopeful the money can trigger a housing increase that could bring 65,000 people off of the street. According to a news release, the package will help to unlock 46,000 new housing units across the state.
The governor also plans to inaugurate a tax rebate for two-thirds of Californians who could receive direct payments of up to $1,100. In addition, Gov. Newsom proposed $5.2 billion be set aside to pay 100% of the back-rent owed by low-income renters, $2 billion to be set aside to pay back late utility bills and $35 million be set aside for local legislatures to institute a basic universal income pilot program.
Next year’s spending plan also includes updates to technological and transportation infrastructure across the state. Within the proposed budget, Gov. Newsom plans to allocate $7 billion to expand broadband infrastructure to underserved regions, as well as $11 billion to modernize the state’s roads, bridges, high-speed railways, ports and public transportation.
To address wildfires throughout the state, Gov. Newsom proposed allocating $2 billion to beef up emergency preparedness. This includes purchasing new firefighting equipment, like airplanes and helicopters, and investments in land and forest management.
Within the spending plan, the governor is eyeing opportunities to help Californians who lost jobs during the pandemic get back on their feet. He’s proposing $1 billion be set aside for new grants for workers who lost their jobs during the pandemic to use to go back to school or start their own businesses.
Other items on the budget include $300 million to forgive traffic fines for low-income residents, $5 billion to create after-school programs in districts with high rates of underserved students and a $1 billion increase for public universities.
“We are trying to do things this state has talked about but never been able to accomplish because we’ve never had the resources to do it,” Gov. Newsom said Friday. “This is not a budget that plays small ball. This is not a budget that plays in the margins.”