SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — California lawmakers Monday sent the governor the legislature’s version of the state’s $300 billion budget, two days ahead of their constitutional deadline of June 15.
“This again is a historic budget,” Assembly Member Phil Ting, D-San Francisco says.
But the state’s spending plan isn’t finished as negotiation continues with Gov. Gavin Newson on several items. Republicans rejected it, noting the budget is incomplete.
“We can thump our chests and say we got something in on time, but can we tell the people we represent what’s in it? Probably not,” State Sen. Jim Nielsen, R-Tehama, said.
State lawmakers have spent the last several weeks figuring out how to spend taxpayer dollars that include a historic, nearly $100 billion surplus.
Democrats applauded their budget that would put a record amount of money into reserves, put $40 billion toward infrastructure, boost the state’s funding formula for public schools, plus investments in housing and transportation.
“This is about not just this generation of Californians, but the next generation of Californians,” Ting said.
But Republicans said the budget doesn’t do enough to address the state’s incoming crises including drought, extreme wildfires, strain on the electrical grid and a looming recession.
State Sen. Brian Dahle, who is running for governor, weighed in during the debate.
“The stock market is taking big hits, and we’re not going to see surpluses like this again,” Dahle, R-Bieber, said.
Another unresolved piece of the state’s financial puzzle is direct payments promised months ago to Californians in response to rising gas prices and inflation.
In a budget-related hearing Monday, the legislature planned to move ahead with sending money based on income and family size, while Newsom’s administration told lawmakers it prefers sending money based on car ownership. This has been the same debate for months.
“At this point, the administration looks forward to working with the senate and assembly to come to a final budget agreement that provides significant and immediate relief to Californians in response to rising costs now,” Erika Li, with the California Department of Finance said.
Anthony York, Governor Newsom’s Senior Advisor for Communications gave a statement on the legislature’s passing of a proposed budget.
“While today is an important step forward, there is more work to be done. Governor Newsom would like to see more immediate, direct relief to help millions more families with rising gas, groceries and rent prices. The Governor’s plan includes an additional $3.5 billion beyond what legislative leaders have proposed to help millions more people meet everyday costs.Anthony York
And given the financial storm clouds on the horizon, a final budget must be fiscally responsible. The Governor remains opposed to massive ongoing spending, and wants a budget that pays down more of the state’s long-term debts and puts more money into state reserves
The legislative proposal is also silent on the Governor’s plan to shore up our state’s energy supply to ensure we can continue to keep the lights on as California wrestles with more extreme heat and weather.
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.“
It’s still unclear when that line item will be resolved. The state’s new fiscal year starts July 1.