Gov. Gavin Newsom submitted his 2021-22 state budget proposal to the Legislature on Friday — a $227.2 billion budget that directs funding for immediate COVID-19 response and relief efforts.
The budget also covers “making investments for an equitable, inclusive and broad-based economic recovery,” read a statement from the governor’s office.
Included in the proposal is $372 million to speed up administration of vaccines across the state’s 58 counties, while also aiming to bolster the state’s “all-hands-on-deck approach” to vaccine distribution.
The proposed budget also includes a $14 billion investment into economic recovery and those in need of relief, including those who have lost their jobs or small businesses or those facing eviction, advancing direct cash support of $600 to millions of Californians through the Golden State Stimulus, and extending new protections and funding to help keep people in their homes and investing in relief grants for small businesses.
The budget also includes the highest level of school funding in state history at approximately $90 billion. This includes $2 billion to support and accelerate safe returns to in-person instruction, $4.6 billion to help students bounce back from the impacts of the pandemic and $400 million for school-based mental health services.
Also included in the proposed budget is $777.5 million for a California Jobs Initiative, which focuses on job creation and retention, regional development, small businesses and climate innovation.
The budget also proposed one-time and ongoing investments totaling $353 million to support state workers, aimed at lifting up demand-driven workforce strategies like apprenticeships and High-Road Training Partnerships, while also advancing collaboration between higher education and workforce partners.
“In these darkest moments of the COVID-19 pandemic, this Budget will help Californians with urgent action to address our immediate challenges and build towards our recovery,” Gov. Newsom said in a statement. “As always, our Budget is built on our core California values of inclusion, economic growth and a brighter future for all.
“The Budget makes progress towards the goal I set when taking office to harness California’s spirit of innovation and resilience and put the California Dream within reach of more Californians. I look forward to working with the Legislature to enact these critical immediate and longer-term priorities for our state for the 40 million who call the Golden State home.”
Other elements of the proposed budget include: $1.75 billion in one-time general funds to purchase additional motels, develop short-term community mental health facilities and purchase or preserve housing dedicated to seniors; $143 million to support 30 new fire crews, as well as $48 million to continue phasing in Black Hawk helicopters and large air tankers; $17.3 million for earthquake early warning; an additional $1 billion to support a coordinated forest health and fire prevention strategy that maximizes technology and science-based approaches to protect state forestlands, including $39 million for LiDAR remote sensing and research; as well as a $1.5 billion comprehensive strategy to achieve the state’s zero-emission vehicle goals by 2035 and 2045.
The budget reflects $34 billion in budget resiliency — budgetary reserves and discretionary surplus — including: $15.6 billion in the Proposition 2 Budget Stabilization Account (Rainy Day Fund) for fiscal emergencies; $3 billion in the Public School System Stabilization Account; an estimated $2.9 billion in the state’s operating reserve; and $450 million in the Safety Net Reserve. The state is operating with a $15 billion surplus.
The budget continues progress in paying down the state’s retirement liabilities and reflects $3 billion in additional payments required by Proposition 2 in 2021-22 and nearly $6.5 billion over the next three years. In addition, the improved revenue picture allows the state to delay $2 billion in scheduled program suspensions for one year.
Dr. Mark Ghaly, the California Health and Human Services secretary, issued a response to the proposed state budget. He said it makes “bold investments” that will help position the state to begin to recover.
Dr. Ghaly added, “The health and human services proposals in the Budget independently help bolster critical safety-net programs that Californians across the state depend on. Taken collectively, these investments have an even broader impact, as they advance the health and well-being, as well as the social and economic mobility, of all Californians. These Budget proposals are the foundation of a Healthy California for All.
“We will continue exploring policy solutions that improve the health and well-being of entire communities while driving toward an integrated health and human services system that is accessible, affordable, high-quality and equitable for all,” Dr. Ghaly said.
Tony Thurmond, the state superintendent of public instruction, also issued a statement in response to the proposed education budget for the 2021-22 fiscal year. He said its “priorities should not only help our schools emerge safely from the impacts of COVID-19, but should immediately double down on our efforts to level the playing field for a generation of students.”
Mr. Thurmond added that until educators, school employees and communities are vaccinated, the proposed budget “addresses main areas of need as public schools consider how to safely resume in-person instruction.”
He added that he believes there are still opportunities to solicit input from students, families, educators and partners to explore more ways to offset learning gaps.
“Greater investments in mental health also will be critical moving forward to address the severe trauma our students have experienced during this crisis, which we know will have a lasting impact on their ability to learn and succeed through the rest of their lives,” he added. “We look forward to working with the Governor’s Office, the Legislature, and all educational stakeholders on the details of today’s budget proposal and to strengthen investments in ways that position all of California’s six million students to succeed.”
For further information on the proposed budget, visit www.ebudget.ca.gov.