Budget Hearings Give Insight in to Legislature’s Priorities
January 23, 2020
This week the Senate and Assembly Budget Committees held their first hearings to discuss the Governor’s proposed budget for 2020-21. These are just the first round of hearings. Between now and May, when the Governor will release a revised budget proposal, the Budget Committees will hold a number of oversight hearings on specific topics within the budget.
The focus of these hearings consistently came back to housing and homelessness. Assembly Member Phil Ting, the Chair of the Budget Committee, applauded funding to expand affordable housing, while also addressing the current homeless crisis. The Governor’s proposal includes a new Access to Housing and Services Fund, with an initial state investment of $750 million. The fund will pay rent for individuals facing homelessness, support new dwelling units, and help stabilize board and care facilities and homes. Republicans drilled the Administration’s witnesses on fiscal responsibility and what they see as increased bureaucracy.
For each budget release, CSAC puts together a Budget Action Bulletin to summarize the most important programs and accounts to counties. Several of the proposals in the January Budget warrant close attention from counties, including:
- A $12.5 billion investment over five years for climate resilience, partially funded by a proposed climate bond, to fund initiatives related to forest health, Community Power Resiliency (formerly PSPS), home hardening, and a climate revolving fund that would provide low- interest loans for waste diversion, low-carbon transportation, and sustainable agriculture.
- A reduction in probation term lengths for both felony and misdemeanants to two years, matched with an investment in more intensive supervision and services for misdemeanant probationers.
- $695 million, growing to $1.4 billion in the out-years, for preventative health care, over a third of which will be aimed at the unsheltered homeless population.