Senate Budget Committee Convenes Overview Hearing on Governor’s 2022-23 Budget

The Senate Budget & Fiscal Review Committee on Wednesday convened an overview hearing to learn more about the Governor’s 2022-23 January Budget proposal. The committee received presentations from the Newsom Administration, primarily the Department of Finance (DOF), as well as the Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO).

During the hearing, DOF Deputy Director Erika Li detailed the Administration’s overall structure of the budget proposal, key investments across various subject areas, and important budget considerations as lawmakers assess proposed investments. Li discussed the Administration’s proposed early action to support the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic response, as well as the budget’s focus on supporting parents and children throughout California, among other high-level summary figures.

Legislative Analyst Gabriel Petek also presented to the committee, providing members an overview of the LAO’s recent publication summarizing the Governor’s January budget proposal. Petek detailed funds proposed for budgetary reserves, surplus projections, and budget-related constitutional requirements, including the State Appropriations Limit (SAL) or Gann Limit. The LAO set forth a series of considerations for lawmakers as they begin to review proposed investments, including considering longer-term planning for COVID-19.

Of note, the LAO’s summary encourages ongoing oversight of major new investments in public health infrastructure. Petek urges lawmakers to seek from the Newsom Administration clarification on how the $300 million ongoing spending proposal ties to findings from a legislative required pandemic response review intended to identify public health system gaps and problems. The LAO additionally recommends requiring annual updates to the Legislature on the use of and outcomes achieved from this public health infrastructure funding to facilitate legislative oversight.

Members of the committee had opportunities to raise questions of DOF and the LAO. Senators inquired about investments in behavioral health, education funding, climate change mitigation, drought and wildfire planning and response, workforce development, and budgetary reserves, among other topics.

Senator Richard Pan applauded the Newsom Administration for honoring the commitment to provide at least $300 million ongoing for public health infrastructure and workforce, as well as the proposed investment to expand full-scope Medi-Cal coverage to all income-eligible individuals regardless of immigration status. Dr. Pan additionally raised consideration of the longer-term implications and need for planning for COVID-19, including paid sick leave, K-12 instruction, childcare, and more.

Also of note, Senator Maria Elena Durazo applauded the Newsom Administration for drawing attention to supplemental paid sick leave for employees in California, particularly amid the latest COVID-19 surge. Durazo urged the Administration and her lawmaker colleagues to expand the supplemental paid sick leave program that was enacted last year and required businesses with 26 or more employees to provide workers with up to 80 extra hours of paid sick leave for instances of COVID-19 infection. Durazo raised concerns that small businesses were excluded from last year’s program and highlighted disproportionate impacts of the pandemic on women, people of color, and immigrants.

The Assembly Budget Committee is set to convene its own overview hearing next Wednesday on the Governor’s budget proposal. Over the coming weeks and months, Senate and Assembly Budget Subcommittees will begin convening hearings to receive more in-depth presentations from the Newsom Administration and further consider proposed investments. CHEAC will continue to keep its Members apprised of relevant budget activities, including through our Budget Advocacy webpage.

A handout from the LAO is available here. A video recording of the hearing is available here.