Assembly Releases Budget Blueprint
This week, Assembly Budget Chair Phil Ting held a press conference to release the Assembly’s budget blueprint. Asm. Ting’s blueprint, “Funding Progress, Protecting Tomorrow,” details actions necessary to ensure fiscal responsibility while funding key Democratic priorities. During his press conference, Asm. Ting discussed the importance of placing funds in the reserve, directing funds to one-time expenditures such as pension obligations and infrastructure, and considering other long-term goals and priorities such as universal health coverage and early childhood education.
Governor-elect Newsom will release his proposed budget by January 10. The Legislature and then-Governor Newsom will have their budget-related work cut out for them come January. A running total of measures already proposed this week carry a significant price tag of approximately $40 billion ongoing. Some of the costliest proposals include increasing funding to K-12 schools (approx. $35 billion over an undetermined amount of years), Medi-Cal expansion to undocumented individuals (approx. $3 billion), Cal Grant increases ($2 billion), and menstrual product and diaper tax exemptions (approx. $55 million).
Despite California’s approximately $15 billion budget surplus, the Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) recommends the upper limit of spending available to the Legislature is $3 billion ongoing if it wants to avoid future deficits, particularly in difficult economic times. Heeding that advice, Governor-Elect Newsom following meetings with legislative leaders on Tuesday noted that, “All of this will be whittled down and we all will live within our means. We’re not going to deviate from being fiscally prudent.”